Sunday, January 07, 2007

St. Stephens Episcopal patiently wait to return to building :: ENS

While the congregation that is now calling itself St. Stephen's Church, Anglican, has said it is not part of The Episcopal Church and the Diocese of Virginia, the members of that congregation have not vacated the church building.

In a meeting with the Episcopal members of St. Stephen's following the December 17 vote, the release said, Lee urged the group to be patient on the matter of property, reminding them that, under the law, title to the buildings at St. Stephen's is held in trust for the diocese. He encouraged them to discuss with their friends in the new Nigerian Anglican congregation ways in which both congregations might share the use of the property until the legal issues of ownership are resolved, the release said.

While discussions between the two vestries over shared use of the space are expected in the coming weeks, the Episcopal congregation has continued to attend the prayer breakfast and other events in the St. Stephen's Church parish house and recently held their second vestry meeting in the St. Stephen's library, according to the release.

"The bishop is patient," said Kirkpatrick.

"But we hope to be fully back in our church soon," she added. "Organizing worship off-site, lining up clergy and getting everything in order is a full-time job."

On December 31, thanks to the generosity of their neighbors at the Heathsville United Methodist Church, the members of St. Stephen's Episcopal Church worshiped together once again, with the Rev. Ted Tulis, interim rector of St. Mary's Episcopal Church in Fleeton, Virginia, officiating. Afterwards they had coffee in the meeting room of the Northumberland Library next door. On January 4, the Rev. Kaki Swann from Cople Parish held a healing service for them also at the Methodist church.

And for at least the next two Sundays, St. Stephen's Episcopal Church will hold Sunday services and celebrate Holy Communion at 8 a.m. at the United Methodist Church, Heathsville.

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