NPR’s Barbara Bradley Hagerty sat down with both sides of the controversy and property disputes in the Diocese of Virginia. She says Virginia “is the epicenter of the Episcopal schism” and that cases like that of Heathsville typify the acrimony and pain.
In January, following a prolonged legal battle, a judge found for The Episcopal Church and the Diocese of Virginia and against seven CANA aligned parishes in Declaratory Judgment actions, ruling that “the CANA Congregations must promptly relinquish control over the properties to the Diocese.”
That doesn’t mean everything’s back to normal, or ever will be.
“I have mixed emotions, more sadness than happiness,” [St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church parishioner Ellen] Kirby says. “We’re a small community; we see each other all the time, at the post office or the grocery store; and we know the hurt and what it feels like to be out of a church and a space that you love.”
“It’s sad and heartbreaking, and it’s a tremendous loss,” [David Harper, rector of the Anglican Church of the Apostles] says, “but God has just given me a peace to understand this is his will and we’re going forward with it, not knowing exactly where we’re going.”
Hagerty spends a little time in the piece on whether Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori should be considered the “new sheriff in town” for the urgency with which she recommended the CANA parishes not be negotiated with, but rather met in court.
“The reality is that the intensity of the conflict escalated after I was elected, and it was clear that several bishops were attempting to lead dioceses out of the church and it was time for a churchwide policy,” Jefferts Schori says.