Thursday, November 16, 2006

The Falls Church and Truro Church May Sever Ties with The Episcopal Church in the U.S. - Consistent with Protocol For Virginia Congregations


FAIRFAX and FALLS CHURCH, VA, Nov. 16 – Representatives of two of the largest congregations in the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia Thursday – Truro Church and The Falls Church – said they are proceeding in a manner consistent with the protocol developed by a Special Committee of the Diocese to settle any property and other disputes should their congregations vote to sever ties with The Episcopal Church in the U.S.

Their confirmation of the protocol came after the Diocese issued a statement Wednesday. “There is no approved protocol,” said Patrick Getlein, Secretary of the Diocese. The Diocese’s statement followed recommendations by the vestries at Truro Church and The Falls Church, November 11 and November 13 respectively, that their congregations affiliate with a province of the worldwide Anglican Communion other than The Episcopal Church. The recommendations are to be voted on December 10-16 at each church.

“To claim that there is no approved protocol is surprising especially since a Special Committee -- comprised of three representatives from the Diocese and three representing Truro Church and The Falls Church -- was appointed by the Rt. Rev. Peter Lee, Bishop of the Diocese; chaired by the Chancellor of the Diocese of Virginia Russell Palmore; met for almost a full year; and then produced a unanimous report with the protocol,” said Jim Oakes, senior warden at Truro. “The Chancellor himself co-authored the final report that recommended the protocol,” Oakes said.

“We were saddened to read the initial response to the actions taken by our vestries,” the Rev. Rick Wright, senior associate rector of The Falls Church said. “Their decisions were taken after a great deal of prayer and deliberation that was carried out in repeated consultation with the Diocesan leadership as evidenced, in part, by materials the Diocese contributed to the public web site,”

The Bishop stated to representatives of both churches on October 16 that he saw the protocol as, in his words, “the right way forward.” “We took Bishop Lee at his word,” said Tom Wilson, senior warden at The Falls Church.

The Bishop reiterated that message at a November 9 joint meeting of the Standing Committee and Executive Board of the Diocese. After the report had been presented and discussed, the Standing Committee of the Diocese and the Executive Board of the Diocese voted at that meeting to receive the protocol unchanged in the face of requests that it be amended, Rev. Wright said. “The Bishop made it clear that it was his desire that the report should not be altered prior to these votes, but should be voted on as it was presented.”

Later Wednesday, Mr. Getlein circulated the report of the Special Committee to the entire Diocese.

”The Diocese’s protocol indicates a way forward that allows us to recognize that while there is a fundamental division in the Diocese, we can settle these issues in a Christ-like manner,” said Wilson. “That is still our heart-felt conviction.”

The vestry recommendations reflect the division in The Episcopal Church that has resulted from disagreement spanning the past four decades over basic truths of the Christian faith, including the authority of the Holy Scriptures and the uniqueness of Jesus Christ as the only Lord and Savior of humankind.

On a typical weekend, about 3,000 congregants worship at the two churches in northern Virginia.

Contact: Jim Pierobon, 301-520-1758


Anonymous said...

At this point I'd like to publicly thank Rt. Rev. Peter James Lee, Bishop of Virginia, for his wisdom in assembling a A Special Committee.

I'd also like to thank:

Russell V. Palmore, Jr., Esq., diocesan chancellor,
The Rev. John Yates, rector, The Falls Church, Falls Church,
The Rev. Caroline Parkinson, President, Standing Committee, rector, Grace Church, The Plains
Hugo Blankingship, Esq., The Falls Church, Falls Church,
The Rev. Andrew Merrow, rector, St. Mary’s, Arlington,
Tom Yates, Truro Church, Fairfax,

for their tireless effort of ten three hour meetings, especially when I heard it took seven for the group to begin to function. A very diverse group with different beliefs -- I'd like to thank them for their report, they unanimously endorse, and urge the bishop to continue to follow the protocols set forth by this committee.

The Falls Church & Truro continue forth in compliance, I've been told it makes good legal sense, but I know the Lord hates two different weights measuring stones and wants our "yes" to be yes and our "no" to be no.

Anonymous said...

In an email reply to a prayer email, I get the sadness of a cradle Episcopalian, next the bewilderment of it all, then this wonderful quote:

"Such is always the feeling when the subject matter is grand. It's like trying to photograph something enormous: you keep backing up and backing up but it doesn't fit in the frame."

We're perched on the precipice of a new season, things to let go for the new to be received. Not a trip, which one returns but a journey that, like Abram, called out of Ur, goes out. May this journey be transformed into a true pilgrimage as we learn who Our God is in actual fully dependent relationship.

Anonymous said...

From: [] On Behalf Of Patrick Getlein
Sent: Thursday, November 16, 2006 7:51 PM
Subject: News Release from the Diocese of Virginia


November 16, 2006

Standing Committee Takes Further Review of Special Committee Report

At a regularly scheduled meeting of the diocesan Standing Committee today in Fredericksburg, the Standing Committee further considered the report of the Special Committee appointed by Bishop Lee in late 2005 to help those churches continuing in conflict over the decisions of the 74th General Convention in 2003 to get on with their mission in as close a union as possible with the Diocese of Virginia.

Though the Standing Committee today did not approve or endorse the report, the Standing Committee did say it views the report as a potentially useful way forward for those congregations in a period of deliberate discernment over their future relationship with the Episcopal Church.

“We view the report of the Special Committee as one of several possible approaches to achieving a mutually acceptable agreement,” said Col. Jean Reed, president of the Standing Committee.

The full report of the Special Committee is attached to this e-mail release and is available with this release in the newsroom on the diocesan Web site. (

At a joint meeting Nov. 9 of the Executive Board with the Standing Committee, both bodies voted to receive the report but did not endorse or approve the report.

“The Standing Committee intends to meet with those churches proposing to separate from the Episcopal Church and review their situations on a case by case basis,” said Col. Reed.

Anonymous said...

No wonder Richmond was the capital of the Confederacy, this is flip-flop-flip as bas as Washington, DC produces.

Unknown said...

You can read the Bishop's Special Committee Report that was received by both the Standing Committee and the Executive Board here : I understand that it was faxed to all the churches in the diocese this week.

I have been thinking about that word "received." I was actually "received" into the Episcopal Church in 1985. Did that really mean what I thought it meant?