Friday, January 19, 2007
Anglican District of Virginia leaders urge Bishop Lee and Diocese to return to negotiating table
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Jim Pierobon, 301-520-1758
Anglican District of Virginia leaders urge Episcopal Bishop and Diocese to return to negotiating table
FAIRFAX and FALLS CHURCH, Va, Jan. 19 - Two leaders of the Anglican District of Virginia today urged the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia and its bishop, the Rt. Rev. Peter James Lee, to cease both his divisive rhetoric and his march toward the courthouse and instead return to the negotiating table.
"It is still not too late for Bishop Lee and the leaders of the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia to stand down from making any more threats against faithful Christians who followed the Diocese of Virginia's protocol for departing congregations, and instead to return to the negotiating table," said Tom Wilson, Senior Warden of The Falls Church and Chairman of the Anglican District. "I still have hope, even now, that we can sit down and reason together."
The Anglican District of Virginia is a growing association of Anglican Churches in Virginia, consisting of 16 worshipping congregations and two emerging church plants. On a typical Sunday, almost 6000 people attend these churches, making Anglican District larger than almost half of the Episcopal dioceses in the United States.
"I am sorry that Bishop Lee seems to have forgotten the conclusions reached by his own Diocesan Reconciliation Commission as well as his own personally-appointed Special Committee led by the diocesan chancellor," said Jim Oakes, Senior Warden of Truro Church and a member of the governing board of the Anglican District. Oakes noted that the Truro vestry had just met last week at the request of the Diocese to appoint its representatives to negotiate with the Diocese and gather information requested by the Diocese. Before the representatives could begin negotiations, the Diocese abruptly reversed its course and terminated negotiations
The Anglican District of Virginia parishes welcome all Episcopalians and others to worship. Following the Anglican tradition, this includes welcoming all baptized Christians to the Lord's Table or Eucharist.
"Bishop Lee's memory seems oddly selective and while that grieves me deeply, I still have hope that he will come to his senses and take seriously the recommendations of both the Reconciliation Commission and the Special Committee. There is still time," Oakes added.
Both the reports from the Diocesan Reconciliation Commission as well as the Bishop's Special Committee are still available for download from the website of the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia and have not yet been taken down. "I see that as a sign that as long as the reports are still available to the public there is hope for an amicable settlement," said Oakes. "The facts and our history speak for themselves."