A News Release from the Communications Office of The Diocese of Virginia
December 18, 2006
Yesterday, Sunday, December 17, eight churches in the Diocese of Virginia announced that a majority of the voting members of the congregation had voted to separate from the Episcopal Church and to join the Church of Nigeria or the Church of Uganda. They also cast a separate vote indicating that they would seek to retain church property. You can read the Bishop’s response to these developments in the newsroom at http://www.thediocese.net/press/pressroom.shtml.
Churches who announced this decision yesterday are:
Church of the Apostles, Fairfax
Church of the Word, Gainesville
The Falls Church, Falls Church
St. Stephens, Heathsville
St. Margaret’s Church, Woodbridge
Potomac Falls Episcopal, Sterling
Christ the Redeemer, Centreville
As of this morning the status of the following congregation, which had been expected to make an announcement, was unclear:
St. Paul’s, Haymarket
Prior to yesterday’s announcement, the following congregations had taken similar action:
All Saints’ Church, Dale City
Christ our Lord, Lake Ridge
Church of the Holy Spirit, Ashburn
South Riding Church, Fairfax
In addition, the following churches are in a period of “40 Days of Discernment” and will schedule similar votes in January:
Church of the Epiphany, Herndon
Our Saviour, Oatlands
The 15 churches above represent just over 7% of the churches in the Diocese. In terms of membership numbers, the 15 churches represent 11% of baptized membership and 18% of the diocesan average Sunday attendance of 32,000 as reported in annual parochial reports. In terms of financial support for the Diocese, in 2006 the 15 churches pledged $41,000 to the diocesan operating budget, nearly half of which came from one church, All Saints’, Dale City.
As Bishop Lee wrote in his statement yesterday, he has called a special meeting of the Executive Board and Standing Committee today where they are expected to review the full range of options, paying particular attention to the pastoral care of those Episcopalians who remain in these churches following the congregational votes and who do not wish to leave the Episcopal Church.