Diocese of Virginia, churches settle church ownership issue

Published November 1, 2008

The Episcopal diocese of Virginia and the Episcopal Church have reached a legal settlement with Potomac Falls Church in Potomac Falls, Va. and Christ the Redeemer Church in Chantilly, Va..

Under the settlement, which includes the Episcopal Church, the two congregations will make a payment (the amount of which was not disclosed) to the diocese and will be released from any claims or future liability arising from the litigation. Neither congregation held any real property.

The payment, which the diocese said in a news release would come “in recognition of past diocesan efforts to build, grow and support Potomac Falls and Christ the Redeemer,” will support diocesan ministries.

“We are grateful to the leadership of Potomac Falls Church and Christ the Redeemer for their courage and willingness to resolve this dispute in a mutually satisfactory manner,” Virginia Bishop Peter Lee said in the release.

“The diocese’s main concern has always been to safeguard the legacy of Episcopal faith and worship in Virginia. This litigation is unfortunate and we are grateful to have found an agreement that allows Potomac Falls Church and Christ the Redeemer to return to what matters most: knowing and serving God through Jesus Christ.”
   Potomac Falls and Christ the Redeemer were two of 11 congregations in which the majority of the laity and clergy voted to leave the diocese over theological disagreements.

   The departing members joined the Convocation of Anglicans in North America (CANA). The other nine congregations filed petitions in local courts seeking declarations that the congregations’ property belonged to them. The diocese of Virginia and the Episcopal Church asked the courts to declare that the property must be held and used for the mission of the Episcopal Church and the diocese.


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