Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Historic D.C. Area Episcopal Churches To Vote on Withdrawal from ECUSA

This Washington Times article reports on decisions by the governing bodies of Truro Church in Fairfax and The Falls Church in Falls Church to recommend withdrawal from the ECUSA to the congregation. Statements from the two churches say that the pending split is motivated by fidelity to the authority of Scripture and the doctrine of salvation through Christ alone. Although the church statements that I've read do not refer to it directly, the 2003 consecration of homosexual bishop Eugene Robinson in New Hampshire clearly helped to spark this action.

A thinkinganglicans.org blog post supplies some additional information and a wealth of links to comments from both sides of the controversy, including links to the church websites. Wrangling seems poised to begin over the church property. Ecclesiastical disputes have a long history of creating sticky legal issues over whether the local church body or the denominational hierarchy holds valid title to church assets. Although the churches contend that a protocol agreement for dealing with the property had been reached prior to this action, the denominational diocese denies such an agreement.

Two additional facts are worth noting: 1) Former SharperIron and fundamentalist blogosphere regular poster David Gustafson serves on the governing body that recommended the change at The Falls Church. 2) I'm not too familiar with Episcopal polity, but I was surprised to read that the final decision on the withdrawal will be made by a congregational vote.

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