The Episcopal Diocese of Virginia announced today that it will not renew the 30 day standstill agreement with the clergy and members of congregations who voted to leave the Episcopal Church to associate with the Anglican Church of Nigeria. The terms of the agreement were set to automatically renew unless one party notified the others seven days prior to the expiration of the agreement. The Diocese notified these congregations today of its decision not to renew the agreement, which is set to expire on January 17. ...UPDATE: Here's coverage in the Washington Post. Key quote, for me:
We are saddened by this," said Jim Pierobon, a spokesman for the breakaway churches. They voted to join a new organization that falls under the Church of Nigeria, which, like the Episcopal Church, is a branch of the worldwide Anglican Communion. "We will make one final appeal for them to consider."A response at Truro here, and at Falls Church here.
Although hopes to stay out of court have been shaky from the start -- with both sides stating publicly that they believe the church property to be theirs -- tensions were exacerbated when some breakaway leaders decreed that people who had voted against splitting could not hold services and meetings in the churches.
"Each church welcomes anyone who wants to worship as individuals but not as an Episcopal Church group. These are Anglican churches now," Pierobon said.
It wasn't immediately clear how many churches had established that rule. Among them was St. Stephen's Church in Heathsville, where congregants voted 99 to 32 to join the Nigerian church.