Michelle Boorstein of The Washington Post has the story:
For the past five years, the remaining members of several Episcopal congregations in Northern Virginia have been worshiping in borrowed basements and empty houses while praying to return to the prominent sanctuaries where they married, baptized their children and buried their parents.
Now, after a prolonged and bitter legal battle with former members who broke away and took with them more than $40 million worth of church property, the Episcopal Church and the members who stayed with the denomination are on the verge of taking back their buildings, which include some the faith’s largest, most prominent churches in the region.
After a judge’s ruling last month in favor of the Episcopal Church, settlement talks are underway for a massive property swap that would bring to an end the most expensive litigation — and perhaps the most watched — in Episcopal Church history. While the breakaway congregations still can appeal, both sides said they are trying to work out the details of the property turnover.