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Falls Church, Anglican holding out until bitter end

Falls Church, Anglican holding out until bitter end

Henry D. W. Burt, secretary of the Diocese of Virginia writes with the latest news from the property settlement front:

Over the last few weeks you have received word of a cascade of settlements the Diocese of Virginia and the Episcopal Church have made with six of the seven CANA congregations that remained in the property litigation. In each case, the CANA congregation agreed to return the church property, including personal property and Episcopal funds due the Diocese of Virginia, and to withdraw their appeals. We have sought to be as generous as we can be with these congregations, particularly with regard to items necessary in the very short-term for them to continue in their ministries.

With disappointment, I report to you that we have been unable to reach a final settlement with the CANA congregation now known as the Falls Church Anglican. Their leadership has made it clear that they plan to pursue their appeal before the Supreme Court of Virginia unless the Diocese (with the Episcopal Church’s approval) pays them a significant sum of money; we both are unwilling to do so. As a result, we expect the Falls Church Anglican to file their petition for appeal at the end of this month, asking the Supreme Court of Virginia to hear their case. We must file a responsive brief three weeks later, and the Court will issue its decision on whether to take the case at some point this fall. We remain strongly confident in our legal position.

Despite the Falls Church Anglican’s decision to appeal, we were able to reach other key side agreements with real and positive consequences for the people affected. The 50-year-old Falls Church Day School, which serves over 200 children, has returned to the oversight of the Falls Church Episcopal without disruption and will remain open for the long term. Also, the Diocese is leasing the rectory to the rector of the Falls Church Anglican for up to a year at a fair rent, allowing him time to relocate. Finally, Bishop Johnston has given the Rev. Cathy Tibbetts, priest-in-charge of the Falls Church Episcopal, authority to respond generously to requests for weddings and funerals in the Falls Church by members of the Falls Church Anglican.


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I think they are appealing due to the Timberridge Presbyterian case that will probably be heard by the Supreme Court, as to whether a denomination can create a trust interest by passing a canon.

That way, the decision does not become final and the Dennis Canon can be overturned by the Supreme Court.


Joe – please sign your name next time you comment. Thanks ~ed.

Leonardo Ricardo

Pride. So much of +Peter Akinolas grandstanding about being a ¨orthodox¨ leader with a extra holy group of believers/followers was actually believed by those who abuse others at Church…is it so hard to say sorry, I made a mistake? What a safe place it must have seemed to seperate righteous from not-so-much Christians at Church. What a day it was to be reassured that discrimination and hating others at Church was actually condoned and practiced in Nigeria. Nigeria and some of the other spiritually and vertically disfigured by corruption countries in the Global South. The Massacre at Yelwa ought really have been a very strong indicator of what core character disorders were capable of instigating in Olde Virigina and beyond…it´s time for the ¨anglicans¨ in Virigina to take full responsibility for their spitefilled actions directed toward others. There is no place left to run or hide.


@David Allen: Another way to look at the issue is that the money has been spent to resist bullying. Win, lose, or draw, it’s important for bullies to know that they can’t steal lunch money, they can’t beat up kids who are different than them, and they can’t take things that belong to others simply because they disagree with them.

At the end of the day, I care less about the assets, and more about protecting those who otherwise would not have a voice.

Eric Bonetti

David Allen

As for the tens millions of dollars that gets spent on these cases, in the long run for TEC it is money invested appropriately. If TEC did not contest the congregations leaving with parish assets, every parish allowed to do so would be more encouragement for others to follow. TEC could then stand to loose hundreds of millions more dollars in real property than it will have ever spent in the litigation.

Brother David

Elizabeth Kaeton

Dave – Nah. Real ‘drama queens’ just create drama the way the Peanut’s character “Pig Pen” walks around in a cloud of dirt and dust. They don’t create drama because they believe God is calling them to defend a righteous cause.

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