From The Rev. John Yates
Rector, The Falls Church
Falls Church, VA
To the family of The Falls Church
November 14, 2006
I want to inform you of the Vestry decision last night. First let me say how much I appreciated the attitude and tone of mutual love and respect that everyone demonstrated at the parish meeting Sunday afternoon. We all know these are terribly hard decisions, and you showed the love of Christ to one another in our time together. Your thoughtful, wise, and serious comments were very helpful to me and to the vestry in being able to come to a decision last night.
The decision of the vestry, as we met last night, was to recommend to the congregation that The Falls Church disaffiliate with The Episcopal Church and affiliate with the Anglican District of Virginia, an association of Virginia churches who are joining together to realign traditional Anglicans in Virginia. The district is part of CANA (the Convocation of Anglicans in North America), a branch of the Anglican Communion within the Church of Nigeria that has The Rt. Rev. Martyn Minns as its Bishop. The vote was 15 aye, 2 nay, and 1 abstention.
The Vestry and I will be providing you with as much information as we can about the Anglican District of Virginia and CANA in the next few weeks. We will have two congregational informational meetings to explain and discuss these matters, as well as to go over the resolution and ballot, which we expect to use in the congregation-wide vote on this matter. The first meeting will be next Monday Nov. 20 at 7:30 pm in the Main Sanctuary. The next will be on December 3rd, when the 9:00 am & 11:00 am services will be shortened to have a meeting after each of those services. Please plan to attend! I may also be sending out additional information via email.
The congregation will decide this matter at a meeting that begins Sunday morning Dec. 10. Please do make plans to vote; I am sure you can appreciate how important that vote - and your individual vote! - will be. This is likely the most important vote that this congregation will take in any of our lifetimes, perhaps ever. The voting times will be stretched over a week to enable those who may be traveling on Sunday to vote. The polls will be open from 9:00 am to 2:00 pm and from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm on Sunday, December 10th, as well as a couple of hours Tuesday evening, Wednesday afternoon, and mid-day on Saturday the 16th. The results will be announced on Sunday, December 17.
We have informed the Rt. Rev. Peter James Lee, Bishop of the Diocese of Virginia, of the vestry's decision. As a congregation, we are following a protocol, approved by the Diocese, that sets out a procedure for congregations considering whether to sever ties with The Episcopal Church.
At the outset of last night's meeting we prayed for the wisdom of God as described in James 4:17-"But the wisdom from above is first pure, peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere." Those qualities characterized the tone and conversation all night long. At the end of the evening, the sentiments of this prayer were in our hearts as we gathered at the chancel rail for prayer:
“Direct us, oh Lord, in all our doings, with thy most gracious favor, and further us with thy continual help; that in all our works, begun, continued, and ended in thee, we may glorify thy holy name, and finally, by thy mercy, obtain everlasting life; through Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen." (BCP, p. 832)
Please continue to keep this a matter of earnest and heartfelt prayer.
Rector of The Falls Church