|Truro Church, Fairfax, Virginia. One of the |
churches restored to The Episcopal Church
By Associated Press, via the Washington Post
FAIRFAX, Va. — The Episcopal Church should be restored as the owner of several historic churches in Virginia, a judge has ruled, years after the denomination was essentially evicted by local congregations dismayed with Episcopal leadership’s liberal theology.
In a 113-page ruling issued Tuesday night, Fairfax County Circuit Court Judge Randy Bellows reversed a ruling he made in 2008 giving custody to the conservative congregations. The Virginia Supreme Court overturned that ruling and ordered a new trial.
It is unlikely, though, that the Episcopalians in Virginia will be able to return to their churches in the immediate future. The judge still has to construct a final order to put Tuesday’s ruling into effect, which will be complicated: It involves 42 separate deeds, as well as sorting out various personal property within the church. The one minor victory Bellows gave to the conservative congregations was that they could keep any donations and personal property associated with the churches that they acquired since the split.
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