Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Virginia property disputes :: ENS

"The leadership of the Diocese of Virginia remains focused on the needs of our churches including those where a majority of members have left the Episcopal Church," Patrick Getlein, secretary of the Diocese of Virginia, told ENS. "When majorities in those congregations voted in December to leave the Church and affiliate with Nigerian Anglicans they set in motion a spiritual and legal conflict that remains unresolved. The fact is Episcopal Church property has been abandoned, efforts have been made by the separated churches to alienate or transfer it, and loyal Episcopalians have been and continue to be excluded from their churches. Bishop Lee and the diocesan leadership remain committed to preserving the sacred legacy entrusted to us by previous generations for the future of the Church here in Virginia."
Exactly. The Episcopal Diocese of Virginia has requested the eleven congregations end their illegal occupation of diocesan property. That property is for the use of Episcopal parishes.

Babyblue is wrong - go read and then come back. The reason Babyblue is wrong is that you cannot slice and dice the Communique the way you want. Here's what the Communique says:
On property disputes The Primates urge the representatives of The Episcopal Church and of those
congregations in property disputes with it to suspend all actions in law arising in this situation. We also urge both parties to give assurances that no steps will be taken to alienate property from The Episcopal Church without its consent or to deny the use of that property to those congregations.
Point 1: It urges

Point 2: It addresses both TEC and the congregation.

Point 3: It refers to all actions in law.

Point 4: It refers to alienation of property.

Facts: The congregations have alienated property and have registered their claim.

The congregations have set in motion the actions in law, theirs and the diocese's response.


1. In his address to the General Synod of the Church of England the Archbishop of Canterbury writes:
"And to try and encourage an internal North American solution to the bitter disputes now raging, we suggested a structure for some kind of supplementary oversight, and an agreement on both sides to back away from litigation – the explicit hope being that this would remove what some see as the need for interventions from other provinces, and would begin to do away with what all agree is the anomaly of diversity of foreign jurisdictions in the USA."
2. Read this article in the Living Church based on an interview with the Chancellor of the Diocese of Virginia. Some extracts:
Mr. Beers noted that the leadership of the departing congregations have not made any effort to come into compliance with the requests made by the primates in their communiqué.“Indeed, the recommendations in the primates’ communiqué concerning a possible suspension of civil litigation over property matters specifically urge all parties in this context to ‘provide assurances that no steps will be taken to alienate property from The Episcopal Church without its consent’,” Mr. Beers stated. “The church is unaware of any movement in this regard on the part of the congregations involved in the pending litigation.”

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