FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: Caitlin Manaois at
March 1, 2012 (703) 683-5004 ext. 119
Judge Signs Order in VA Church Property Case
Virginia Anglicans Remain Prayerful and Are Reviewing Legal Path Forward
(March 1, 2012) – Seven Anglican congregations in Virginia that are parties to the church property case brought by The Episcopal Church and the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia are reviewing today’s final orders by the Fairfax County Circuit Court on issues including transferring real and personal property. At the same time they are prayerfully considering their legal options.
While our congregations will comply with the final order, we are saddened that the Circuit Court did not accept the motion for partial reconsideration and we continue to believe that, as a matter of religious liberty, it is the right of donors to restrict the use of their own gifts to the church of their choice,” said Jim Oakes, spokesperson for the seven congregations.
Earlier this month, the congregations filed a motion for partial reconsideration with the Fairfax County Circuit Court asking that the court reconsider the portion of its January ruling stating that certain personal property, including monetary gifts, given to the congregations prior to January 31, 2007, belongs to the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia.
The Virginia Attorney General also filed a brief with the Fairfax County Circuit Court in support of the defendant congregations’ motion for partial reconsideration.
“We remain grateful to our own legal team’s steadfastness and commitment to defending our congregations throughout this lengthy litigation process. Further, we are thankful for the support from the Virginia Attorney General who was present in this case to represent the public interest in enforcing the wishes of charitable donors in Virginia,” concluded Oakes.
The Rev. John Yates, rector of The Falls Church, a historic property involved in the case, stated, “Our congregations are blessed by the confidence that God will always provide a home for His followers. We have always known that a church is not just its buildings, but its people and the transforming gospel of Jesus Christ being proclaimed and lived. We look forward to God leading us in the days ahead.”
The Circuit Court heard the church property case last spring after the Virginia Supreme Court remanded it in June 2010. Last month, the Circuit Court ruled against the congregations, after they previously had succeeded in their efforts on the Circuit Court level to defend the property that they bought and paid for.
The seven Anglican congregations are members of the newly established Diocese of the Mid-Atlantic, a member diocese within the Anglican Church in North America.
For background on the case or to schedule an interview with a spokesperson, please contact Caitlin Manaois at (703) 683-5004 ext. 119.