BB NOTE: One does wonder if the Diocese realizes that the passive/aggressive tone of their "press release" reveals more about why we're in this crisis then perhaps they intended? Is this the sort of statement that a diocese wants to put out to the general public advertising what a loving and inclusive denomination the Episcopal Church is? This press release is just dripping with contempt for the people of Christ our Lord. It also has picked and choosen its points. For example, the real estate was returned to the diocese, but the rest of the assets belongs to the founding parish. On one hand, the diocese threatens All Saints Dale City (and let's not even go there) with lawsuits and then wails that it doesn't know where Christ Our Lord's stuff is. Excuse me? Apparently, it's all about the stuff. There's not one bit of evidence here that the Bishop of Virginia cares what happened to the people. So much for being a shepherd. Who does he call? He apparently is sitting in his office dictating press releases and calling his lawyers rather than his people and his priests. So apparently it really is all about money and property after all - and not the people or the priests. Now we know.
Now even though I'm rather ticked off by reading this press release (who exactly is it directed to??), I do feel sad to imagine Bishop Jones inside the former Christ Our Lord Episcopal Church - empty, like Kirk beaming aboard another ship without its crew or its captain and wondering what happened - walking through the halls, picking up a paper here and a paper there, a stapler here, a pencil there, finding the keys sitting out for him to collect, maybe they left a note, but everything silent. That is pretty darn sad. What's really sad, though, is that Bishop Lee couldn't do it himself. He was on the phone with the lawyers. He had to send the Suffragan. And he can't bring himself to call George Beaven, instead he calls for the Standing Committee. We get it.
Contact: Patrick Getlein
Mission Congregation Dissolves Without Notice
On Sunday, October 15, the congregation and leadership of Christ our Lord, Lake Ridge,Virginia, a parochial mission of All SaintsÂ’, Dale City since 1992, voted to dissolve itself and reform under the aegis of the Diocese of North Kigezi in the Anglican Church of Uganda. The Rev. George Beaven had been vicar of the congregation.
Formal notice of the action was received by the BishopÂ’s Office on Thursday, October 19 in a letter from All SaintsÂ’ rector the Rev. John Guernsey. As the rector of the missionÂ’s Founding Church, Mr. Guernsey has authority to appoint the vicar of the mission with the concurrence of the Bishop.
Â“I am saddened by this departure and by the missionÂ’s apparent failure to thrive,Â” said Bishop Lee. Â“I am also disappointed to not have heard of plans for this action directly from the leadership of the congregation prior to their taking this action,Â” he added, noting that as of this release he had heard nothing from Mr. Beaven.
The church structure on Omisol Road in Lake Ridge, title to which is held by the Diocese, was abandoned following the Sunday decision. Though the building was abandoned, the note securing the property has a balance due of $420,000 and is five months in arrears.
The property was purchased in 1997 with a $500,000 loan from the Diocesan Missionary
Society. The note was co-signed by the Bishop of Virginia and by Mr. Beaven acting as vicar.
However, All SaintsÂ’, the missionÂ’s founding congregation, could ultimately be held accountable for the debt under the Canons of the Diocese.
Also not clear is the status of the former vicar, who appears to have abandoned not only the real property but also the Church in which he was ordained by Bishop Lee in 1992. The Bishop has asked the Standing Committee to determine his status.
Though the real estate was abandoned to the Diocese, other property -- computer equipment, sound equipment, intellectual property, the parish register and bank accounts Â– were not turned over to the Diocese.
On Thursday, Oct. 19, Bishop Suffragan David Colin Jones visited the property and secured a number of documents and other items and has taken possession of the keys to the property.
Arrangements are being made by the Diocese to provide continuity of utility service which had been scheduled by the Vestry Committee to be terminated on Friday, Oct. 20 despite the fact that the property is also under lease to a Hispanic Christian congregation. The Diocese will restore an Episcopal presence in the church on Sunday, Oct. 29.