Conservative Va. parishes bolt Episcopal Church

shield.gifThis story has been all over the news. If you missed it, howver, two very large, very well funded Episcopal (or, formerly Episcopal) parish churches in Virginia, Truro Church and The Falls Church, have voted to disaffiliate from the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia and from the national Episcopal Church. Why is this a business litigation related issue? Read more below the fold.

These two parish churches hold property valued in the millions, if not tens of millions, of dollars. Unless a settlement can be reached with the Diocese of Virginia and the Episcopal Church – and I doubt that such a thing will happen, for a variety of reasons – the ownership of the property will be litigated. If such litigation ensues, both sides will be very well funded. The question will be resolved with reference to principles of Virginia property and trust law. It is an open question, I would say, who would prevail in such a scenario. One thing is for certain, though. The established order – the diocese and the national denomination, cannot afford to lose such a case, or the growing tide of departing parishes (which is becoming considerable, the protestations of church leaders notwithstanding) will become a flood. The national church and Episcopal parish churches hold, in the aggregate, something like $7 billion worth of property (including endowment funds and cold hard cash). A brouhaha over the ownership of the property seems likely. I wish Truro and the Fallls Church well.

Source: The Washington Post

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