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VA: Departing church gives up land
VirtueOnline-News ^ | 10/26/2006 | Julia Duin

Posted on 10/26/2006 3:24:33 PM PDT by sionnsar

An Episcopal congregation in Woodbridge whose members were unhappy with liberal trends in the Episcopal Church suddenly dissolved itself last week, leaving the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia with a $420,000 bill from the property's mortgage.

The members of Christ Our Lord Episcopal Church, a mission congregation founded in 1992, has since reconstituted under the Anglican Diocese of North Kigezi in Uganda as Christ Our Lord Anglican Church. It is the third mission to leave the diocese because of the 2003 consecration of New Hampshire Bishop V. Gene Robinson as the world's first openly homosexual bishop, but the first to abandon its property.

"I am saddened by this departure and by the mission's apparent failure to thrive," Virginia Bishop Peter J. Lee said. "I am also disappointed to not have heard of plans for this action directly from the leadership of the congregation prior to their taking this action."

Christ Our Lord's vicar, the Rev. George Beaven, said his congregation tried in April to strike a deal with the diocese to depart with its property, but the diocese refused.

"I would have loved to have done this whole thing in consultation with the bishop, and I've appreciated Bishop Lee's restraint in dealing with the aftermath of this crisis," Mr. Beaven said, "but you have to realize our environment in which we're operating here."

He added that his congregation has lost one-third of its members since the Robinson consecration and that would-be members are turned off by the denomination's liberal stances.

"When people find out you're involved in perpetual battles about foundational truths, they say, 'There are three churches up the road that aren't involved in that,' " he said. "They're looking for a safe place for their family, and there's a lot other options that are more attractive."

The congregation is one of dozens across the country that have fled the denomination since 2003. Several have left since June, when the Episcopal General Convention elected as its presiding bishop Nevada Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, who favors ordaining active homosexuals and performing same-sex unions.

By August, the congregation was making plans to leave, and on Oct. 15, 95 percent of its 200 members voted to dissolve. The next day, it informed the Rev. John Guernsey, rector of All Saints Episcopal Church in Dale City, the mission's sponsoring congregation, of the vote. But it was not until Thursday, four days after the vote, that Mr. Guernsey informed the diocese via e-mail that Christ Our Lord had left.

"I got the letter done as expeditiously as I could and meant no disrespect by it," said Mr. Guernsey, adding that he was out of the office part of last week and that his governing board had to approve it first.

Diocesan spokesman Patrick Getlein said diocesan officials, all of whom were away on a clergy retreat from Monday to Wednesday of last week, got an anonymous phone call about Christ Our Lord during the retreat. A suffragan bishop with the Virginia Diocese, Bishop David Jones, called Mr. Beaven on Tuesday.

"He was sad. He was hurt," Mr. Beaven said of their conversation.

The bishop came by the church Thursday to secure the abandoned property. Mr. Beaven, 62 -- who is leading the reconstituted congregation, which will meet at Woodbridge Seventh-day Adventist Church -- plans to retire from the Episcopal priesthood soon. The diocese, which will continue services in the old building, says the former members left behind a $420,000 mortgage on which no payments had been made since May. The building on Omisol Road was purchased in 1997 for $700,000, with the help of a $500,000 loan from the diocese, which is considering making All Saints pay the bill.

Mr. Guernsey did not comment on that possibility, especially because his own church is in negotiations with the diocese about leaving.

Mr. Beaven said his church had made "extensive improvement" to the property, which has appreciated in value to $1.82 million.

The departing church chose North Kigezi because its members had visited the Ugandan diocese on mission trips and Bishop Edward Muhima has visited Christ Our Lord.

TOPICS: Mainline Protestant

1 posted on 10/26/2006 3:24:34 PM PDT by sionnsar
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To: ahadams2; cf_river_rat; fgoodwin; secret garden; MountainMenace; SICSEMPERTYRANNUS; kaibabbob; ...
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2 posted on 10/26/2006 3:25:24 PM PDT by sionnsar (††|Iran Azadi| 5yst3m 0wn3d - it's N0t Y0ur5 (SONY) | UN: Useless Nations)
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To: All
Third Northern Virginia church renounces affiliation October 26th, 2006 posted by kendall at 2:45 pm

A Woodbridge church has voted to pull out of the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia and the Episcopal Church USA in part over issues involving gay people.

The 200-member Christ Our Lord Church is the third Northern Virginia Episcopal church to withdraw from the diocese and affiliate with the Anglican Province of Uganda. South Riding Church in Loudoun County left the diocese in November 2005, and the Church of the Holy Spirit, also in Loudoun County, left in February.

Two other Northern Virginia Episcopal churches are winding up a 40-day discernment period and soon will decide whether to leave the denomination. They are Truro in Fairfax and Falls Church in Falls Church.

Conservative Episcopal congregations have been upset with their denomination since the 2003 consecration of an openly gay bishop by the national church. Another factor is the election this summer of the Rt. Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori, bishop of Nevada who has supported the blessing of same-sex unions in Nevada, as the church’s next presiding bishop. She is the first woman to hold the church’s top office and is considered progressive by conservative congregations.

The Christ Our Lord congregation voted Oct. 15 to leave the Episcopal Church and also to relinquish its property to the Diocese of Virginia. In the Episcopal Church, all property and buildings are owned by a diocese, according to a news re- lease from the church. The exact vote was not available.

“Our members are choosing to stay an active and faithful part of the worldwide Anglican Communion because the Episcopal Church has abandoned us,” said the Rev. George Beaven, vicar of the church. He has submitted his resignation and announced his retirement from the Episcopal Church. He will pastor the new Christ Our Lord Anglican Church, which will hold Sunday services at 10 a.m. at the Woodbridge Seventh-day Adventist Church.

Read it all.

3 posted on 10/26/2006 3:33:15 PM PDT by sionnsar (††|Iran Azadi| 5yst3m 0wn3d - it's N0t Y0ur5 (SONY) | UN: Useless Nations)
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To: sionnsar

I would be gone in a NY minute and NEVER look back. I do not understand why it even seems like a hard decision to make. Some things are just obviously Biblically wrong and as a Christian I would not waste one once of worrying or sadness in leaving a place that preached a lie. Cause we all know who the father of the LIE is.

4 posted on 10/26/2006 10:17:26 PM PDT by therut
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To: therut

It's clear you're not a cradle Anglican. I know from experience just how hard it can be to leave.

5 posted on 10/27/2006 7:06:02 AM PDT by sionnsar (††|Iran Azadi| 5yst3m 0wn3d - it's N0t Y0ur5 (SONY) | UN: Useless Nations)
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To: sionnsar
This article gives a wonderful idea - set up lots of ECUSA missions - take out massive debt and then say oops- my bad and leave.....

Let the rich gay church pay its way.

6 posted on 10/27/2006 7:43:57 AM PDT by x_plus_one
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To: therut

Part of the issue is really the remote nature of the bishops and the denomination organization to individual churches.

Especially for cradle-to-grave Anglicans (I am not one) its very hard to leave a good church, which is orthodox in its teaching--since in ones weekly connection to the Church, that congregation is all you see. We read in the news about what the Bishops are doing--but the particular TEC church I attend doesn't see an acting bishop but once or twice a year.

So here your church is struggling to be faithful, while the high-and-mighty bishops do their thing on a different plane than your normal life. What to do too--leaving beautiful churches built by local money, along with the grave-sites of your ancestors???

Another thing too, which I hear precious little of among the outside critics of the orthodox in the TEC--what example in the Bible do we have of the prophets, or Jesus or the disciples of leaving the heretical Jewish religion?

Even after Jesus was crucified by its leadership (only to rise again!) the disciples continued to teach and pray at the Temple. Murdering God is even more serious than homosexuality in my book....but only when utterly forced to, was there any break with the Jewish religion.

Now many TEC priests and congregations are being forced out by the revisionists--so I don't blame them--however there must be a place for faithful prophets, who suffer persecution, in TEC--as long as the heretics allow it.

7 posted on 10/28/2006 2:29:10 PM PDT by AnalogReigns
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