The national denomination joined in the legal efforts of its Virginia diocese to secure access to its church properties that continue to be occupied by the defectors. Those defectors, meanwhile, continue to forbid access to the facilities by continuing Episcopalian members.In reference to The Falls Church spokesperson.
While the defectors deny this profusely, in reality, this appears a simple case of trespassing. The defectors are surely within their rights to leave the church. People join and cancel memberships in churches all the time, and when a large group agrees to do it together at the same time, it can go off and start a new church or even a new religion. Doing that sort of thing is nothing new. In fact, it is a grand and time-honored tradition within organized religion.
But it is another thing when such a group wants to take someone else’s property along with it. It is straightforward that since 1793 Virginia Episcopal Church canons stipulate that a parish’s property “is held by and for the mission of the church.” Now, the defectors want to undo those rules, which they’d agreed to for years, through the courts, and the Episcopal Church is fighting back. It’s that simple.
The defectors should not cry over this, or assail the denomination for being “un-Christian.” They should expect it and embrace it as the price of maintaining their religious convictions. They shouldn’t let an idolatry of physical possessions or formal titles taint them.
Thursday, February 15, 2007