Text of Today's News Release from the Diocese of Virginia
Diocesan Leaders to Reach Out to All Episcopalians
Property Commission also established
Contact: Patrick Getlein 1-800 346-2373 x30
The leadership of the Diocese of Virginia today took steps to reach out to the Episcopalians who remain in each church where the majority membership has decided to leave the Episcopal Church. The Diocese will support those members as the continuation of the Episcopal Church in their communities, while also authorizing a standstill agreement with those who have chosen to leave to avoid litigation for a period of 30 days.
"Our primary concern is for the membership of the Diocese of Virginia," said the Rt. Rev. Peter James Lee, Bishop of the Diocese of Virginia. “In some of our churches where that membership has now been significantly reduced, there are faithful Episcopalians who need to be given every encouragement to establish structures necessary for their continuity as the Episcopal Church.”
Under the standstill agreement with departing members, both sides have agreed not to initiate any litigation for a period of 30 days, and the departing members have agreed not to attempt to transfer Church property.
In addition, the Executive Board and Standing Committee authorized the Bishop to explore all options with the Episcopalians who remain and to take appropriate actions for their support and full participation in the life of the Diocese.
The Executive Board, Standing Committee and Bishop also established a Property Commission charged with addressing matters of real and personal property on behalf of the Diocese.
The Bishop made the following appointments to the Property Commission: David Charlton, Grace, Kilmarnock, Chair Brad Davenport, CounselKevin McCusty, CounselRodney Page, Executive Board Don Metheny, Executive Board The Rev. Melana Nelson Amaker, Standing Committee The Rev. David May, Standing Committee.
The Property Commission will meet with departing members to discuss real and personal property matters on a case-by-case basis and will make recommendations to the Standing Committee, Executive Board and Bishop for their consideration.
"As I have said previously, our polity maintains that all real and personal property is held in trust for The Episcopal Church and the Diocese," said Bishop Lee. "As stewards of this historic trust, we fully intend to assert the Church’s canonical and legal rights over these properties. The members of the Property Commission are charged with addressing those matters on behalf of the Diocese on a case by case basis."