In the case of three of nearly 20 congregations in which the majority recently voted to align with other provinces of the Anglican Communion, persons who wish to remain with The Episcopal Church elected and sent delegates to the council. The start-over congregations are: St. Stephen’s, Heathsville; St. Margaret’s, Woodbridge; and The Falls Church.
Many of the 1,000 delegates and visitors present gave a standing ovation when the Rt. Rev. Peter Lee announced that both the standing committee and the executive board of the diocese voted unanimously to take legal action over property ownership in the departing parishes.
They applauded vigorously when the Rt. Rev. John Paterson, Bishop of Auckland, New Zealand, said, “If the Episcopal Church needs a strong and united Diocese of Virginia, it is no less true that the Anglican Communion needs a strong and united Episcopal Church, and The Episcopal Church needs the Anglican Communion.”
They gave a standing ovation when the Rt. Rev. David C. Jones, bishop suffragan, read a statement of unqualified support for Bishop Lee by nearly all the active and retired bishops in Province III of The Episcopal Church (with the notable exception of Pittsburgh’s bishops).
Bishop Jones said the departing congregations had shifted their emphasis “from belonging to Christ through baptism” to “adhering to one point of view.” When he added, “That is not an Anglican development,” delegates rose again, applauding and cheering.
They applauded again when treasurer Michael Kerr said that he had approved extending the medical benefits of clergy in the departing congregations through the end of January. “This is an example of grace,” he said.
Bishop Lee spoke with bishop-elect Shannon Johnston by telephone.
“I have spoken to the Rev. Johnston and he has accepted the election,” Bishop Lee announced. Delegates stood for their most boisterous standing ovation of the day. Then Bishop Lee led them in singing the Doxology.
Saturday, January 27, 2007
Standing O's at Diocese of Virginia Council
From The Living Church: