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Diocese of Virginia approves freeze on litigation
titusonenine ^ | 12/19/2006

Posted on 12/20/2006 8:14:53 AM PST by sionnsar

The Episcopal Diocese of Virginia, reeling over the loss of one-tenth of its 90,000 members this past weekend, stepped back from earlier threats to sue yesterday, instead calling for a 30-day moratorium on lawsuits and property transfers.

Virginia Bishop Peter J. Lee said his “primary concern” was for the tiny minorities of members in the departing churches who do not wish to leave the diocese and said the next month should be used to help these “faithful Episcopalians who need to be given every encouragement to establish structures necessary for their continuity as the Episcopal Church.”

The statement yesterday said Bishop Lee had authorized “a standstill agreement with those who have chosen to leave, to avoid litigation for a period of 30 days.”

But Bishop Lee also reiterated the diocese’s legal stance, referring to “our churches” where the “membership has now been significantly reduced.” The statement also announced the formation of a Property Commission to “meet with departing members to discuss real and personal property matters on a case-by-case basis” and to advise the bishop.

“As I have said previously, our polity maintains that all real and personal property is held in trust for the Episcopal Church and the Diocese,” Bishop Lee said. “As stewards of this historic trust, we fully intend to assert the Church’s canonical and legal rights over these properties.”

Jim Pierobon, a spokesman for the two largest churches to break away over the weekend, expressed surprise at Bishop Lee’s statement, but had no further comment.

Read it all.

TOPICS: Mainline Protestant; Other non-Christian

1 posted on 12/20/2006 8:14:55 AM PST by sionnsar
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2 posted on 12/20/2006 8:15:51 AM PST by sionnsar (?|Iran Azadi| 5yst3m 0wn3d - it's N0t Y0ur5 (SONY) | UN: Useless Nations)
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To: sionnsar

My guess is most of those who voted NOT to leave will still want to stay with their churches that are leaving, now that the decisions have been made.

If the diocese manages to win the properties, it will be a short-lived victory, because they won't have enough worshippers to maintain the buildings.

3 posted on 12/20/2006 9:07:54 AM PST by CharlesWayneCT
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To: CharlesWayneCT

You are correct. Even without that, there have been a few mergers of churches that have become too small to stand alone.

4 posted on 12/20/2006 9:11:04 AM PST by sionnsar (?|Iran Azadi| 5yst3m 0wn3d - it's N0t Y0ur5 (SONY) | UN: Useless Nations)
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To: CharlesWayneCT

BUMP, that is the sentiment among those who voted NOT to leave.

The Diocese will not win.

Virginia law is very clear: a majority of the congregation decides whether to stay or whether to go, and who gets the property. The fact that every single voting church voted with a super-majority of 70+% does not help TEC or The Diocese. Two more churches are voting after the New Year. IMHO, Bp. Lee, et al. are scared that by the time the dust completely settles, there won't be a Diocese of Virginia left...or that the Diocese will emerge from the storm in a severely weakened state.

I posted on this in another thread (see the Code of Virginia, § 57-9. How property rights determined on division of church; and a press release from Truro and The Falls Church, released yesterday).

5 posted on 12/20/2006 10:15:28 AM PST by rabscuttle385 (Sic Semper Tyrannis * Allen for U.S. Senate in '08)
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