Virginia Mission Disputes Bishop’s Version of Departure
In a two-hour meeting with the Virginia Bishop Suffragan David Jones, the Rev. George Beaven explained that he and the other leaders of the parochial mission of Christ Our Lord, Lake Bridge, desired to make their departure from The Episcopal Church as grace-filled as possible.
“I am saddened that the diocese chose to take such a negative tone in reporting our decisions in its Oct. 20 release,” Fr. Beaven wrote in a prepared statement. “I have nothing but the utmost love and respect for the bishop, although I disagree with him profoundly on matters of faith and doctrine. I am particularly saddened by the diocese’s mischaracterization of our treatment of the Hispanic congregation worshiping at our church.”
On Oct. 15, the congregation, which has about 200 members, voted by a 95 percent margin to dissolve as an Episcopal church and reincorporate under the episcopal oversight of Bishop John Kahigwa of the Ugandan Diocese of North Kigezi. At the meeting, Fr. Beaven resigned as vicar and retired from The Episcopal Church.
“Our experience is that The Episcopal Church has become an unhealthy environment for orthodox Christians,” said Fr. Beaven, who has been engaged to lead the newly named Anglican congregation, Christ Our Lord Church. “In a neighborhood populated by military and other highly mobile families, our future depends on an influx of new people each year who are looking for a safe and supportive place for their families to worship and grow.”
The statement noted that since the congregation began occupying the church property, Christ Our Lord Church paid off early a second mortgage of $90,000 and paid down the first mortgage by $80,000. “The congregation made extensive improvements to the property, which appreciated by more than $1 million from its $700,000 original purchase price,” Fr. Beaven wrote. He noted that personal property was turned over to the founding church, All Saints’, Woodbridge.
“We felt so blessed to have this building that from the start we have shared it with young churches needing a place to worship,” Fr. Beaven said. “We gave the current lessees notice in August that because our church was facing an uncertain future, their lease would terminate on September 30, 2006. We also assured them that we would do all we could to help them if they wanted to continue occupancy. We later allowed them to stay until October 15. The electricity was not turned off until October 20, after the diocese had taken over possession of the property.”