Thursday, October 16, 2008

A Letter from Bishop Peter James Lee

via e-mail

October 16, 2008

Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,

Every day God calls us to remain faithful together at the foot of the cross. The mutual support and community we share in the Diocese of Virginia is a clear sign of our faithfulness to this call. Especially important in these challenging times is the support we offer the faithful Episcopalians in our continuing congregations as they serve the mission of the Church.

The Circuit Court of Fairfax County has heard evidence related to ownership of disputed church properties. Despite our claim that these properties are held in trust for many generations of Episcopalians, from the past to the future, we have received some unfavorable rulings, including one this week which declared that property acquired for the Church of Christ Redeemer was transferred properly to Truro Church. Next week the Diocese will present evidence which we believe shows that Christ Church, Alexandria is the owner of the historic church of the Falls Church. The trial will conclude next week and we expect a ruling in late November or early December.

While these legal rulings have been disheartening, I pray that you remain mindful of our larger common mission. It is our duty to band together to see that all Episcopalians may worship in their own churches. It is our privilege to live and worship here in Virginia, the birthplace of religious freedom. We must not allow the government to dictate how people of any faith organize and govern themselves nor where they may gather in prayer.

Let me assure you that the Diocese of Virginia will vigorously appeal every court decision that denies any Episcopalians their rightful church homes. The Diocese of Virginia has experienced challenges in the past and we have always come through renewed and strengthened in our mission to serve Christ's church. Virginia will do so again.

Please continue to keep all those affected by this trial in your hearts and prayers.

Faithfully,

Peter James Lee
Bishop of Virginia

9 comments:

Joe said...

From the foot of the cross of The One who authored a way of life that we commonly describe as filled with "Christian charity" to the doors of the courthouse which Christ's Apostle to the gentiles told us was the last place that we should go to settle disputes with a fellow Christian, and apparently all without a blink of the eye. We are living in the world of "Alice in Wonderland" and so down the rabbit hole we go ...

Joe Roberts, Western Louisiana
(Cotton Country Anglican)

Grandpa Dino said...

"While these legal rulings have been disheartening ..."

You should have considered all the possible outcomes before deciding to play this game, Janus.

Christopher Johnson said...

Just keep raising holding 7/2 off-suit, Pete. We've got plenty of room for your chips over here.

Rick Arllen said...

What a bunch of cow poop.

JamesW said...

Bishop Lee says:

"We must not allow the government to dictate how people of any faith organize and govern themselves nor where they may gather in prayer."

Which is why the government and courts should hold churches to the same legal standard as every other organization and not permit them to bypass the ordinary legal methods of establishing ownership by declaring unilateral trusts over other peoples' property. Peter Lee makes the case for the "neutral principles of law" approach to resolving church property disputes.

Kevin said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kevin said...

How VERY very sad.

"I pray that you remain mindful of our larger common mission. It is our duty to band together to see that all Episcopalians may worship in their own churches."

All these structures are temporary and in fact not the mission of the Church (catholic and universal) as all, for "don't you know you are the Temple of the Lord?"

Last Sunday at my parish, we just heard a 'repeat' message on that, not because the guy before did such a lousy job, but our rector wanted to drive the point home!

+Lee is wrapping a human agenda in religious language yet lost the core message of Christ's mission.


I lift my prayers for bishop Lee and those he leads -- that he may rediscover the joy of his salvation and a renewed vision of what the Church's mission has been since Pentecost.

Anonymous said...

Bishop Lee should drop the continued court cases and retire. Continued suing is a waste of money!!!!!

Patricia Hammell Kashtock said...

Man -- I can't believe he intends to see this to the death. I hoped he might have more sense. It isn't going to change...

Peace,
Pat Kashtock
Take It for What It's Worth