Updated again Saturday morning
The Diocese of Virginia has just issued this: Diocesan Leadership Declares Church Property ‘Abandoned’
A Letter to The Diocese of Virginia from the Rt. Rev. Peter James Lee, Bishop
Please read both documents in full.
Episcopal News Service Virginia leadership declares church property ‘abandoned’
Living Church Diocese Declares Departing Virginia Church Properties Abandoned
Richmond Times-Dispatch Diocese moves to recover breakaway churches’ land
Associated Press via Washington Post Episcopalians Readying Legal Challenge
Washington Times Church dispute headed to court
Episcopal News Service Presiding Bishop affirms Church’s ‘fiduciary and moral duty’ to preserve property
From the CANA website:
On January 12, Bishop Martyn Minns of CANA received the following letter from the leader of the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia (the Rt. Rev. Peter James Lee). Bishop Minns’s response is also pasted below. CANA regrets that given the Episcopal Church’s more recent public polemical statements, that we are forced to make these two private letters part of the public record. In the past, the headquarters of the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia has endorsed the principles of civility and grace (e.g., “The Grace and Power of Civility” by David Abshire). But their recent unilateral actions of (1) denying their own Protocol’s access to amicable separation, of (2) breaking off the negotiation process, of (3) driving a wedge into CANA congregations, of (4) denying senior priests access to COBRA health care extensions — all of these seem to prove that the Episcopal Church is more interested in posturing than people. CANA continues to pray for a peaceful resolution and that the Episcopal Church leaders will not initiate litigation.
FAIRFAX and FALLS CHURCH, Va, Jan. 19 – Two leaders of the Anglican District of Virginia today urged the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia and its bishop, the Rt. Rev. Peter James Lee, to cease both his divisive rhetoric and his march toward the courthouse and instead return to the negotiating table.
“It is still not too late for Bishop Lee and the leaders of the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia to stand down from making any more threats against faithful Christians who followed the Diocese of Virginia’s protocol for departing congregations, and instead to return to the negotiating table,” said Tom Wilson, Senior Warden of The Falls Church and Chairman of the Anglican District. “I still have hope, even now, that we can sit down and reason together.”
The Anglican District of Virginia is a growing association of Anglican Churches in Virginia, consisting of 16 worshipping congregations and two emerging church plants. On a typical Sunday, almost 6000 people attend these churches, making Anglican District larger than almost half of the Episcopal dioceses in the United States…
This article from the Washington Post yesterday contains detail about the Heathsville, Virginia church mentioned in the correspondence above: Praying for Answers.
Living Church Departing Virginia Churches Urge Diocese to Resume Negotiations
Washington Post Congregations Give Warning On Property
Washington Times Breakaway churches urge bishop back to talks
The Rev. Dr. John Yates Writes to The Falls Church via Stand Firm