The Episcopal Church has joined the Diocese of Virginia in its legal dispute over possession of the property of 11 congregations in which the majority of the members and clergy voted in 2006 and early 2007 to leave the denomination and affiliate with African Anglican bishops.
Lawyers filed a 20-page complaint in the County of Fairfax, Virginia, courts on February 9. The complaint lists the Episcopal Church as the plaintiff and names as defendants the former clergy and vestry members of 11 parishes and missions, as well as trustees who technically hold title to the real property of some of the parishes.
The complaint names the parishes as defendants “because their real and personal property and affairs are currently under the de facto control of individuals who claim the right to sever the link between the parties and the Diocese and the Episcopal Church, to divert the parishes’ real and personal property for their own use in affiliation with another denomination outside the United States, and to exclude the parishes’ faithful Episcopalian members for use and control of that property.”
The clergy and vestry, or vestry committee members in the case of the two missions, are named because they “have left the Episcopal Church, yet continue to exercise control over the real and personal property” of the congregation.
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