The Falls Church News-Press has given a fair amount of coverage to the split in the Diocese of Virginia, considering the Northern Virginia church for which the city is named is a prominent CANA parish. In a piece published today, FCNP editor Nicholas Benton observes that last week’s ruling is a victory for the Episcopal Church even as the Rev. John Yates of the Falls Church takes a “never surrender” posture toward it:
It was a victory for the Episcopal Church against the defectors that include a majority of voting members at the historic Falls Church that have continued to occupy that church property.
Still, one important defector, the Rev. John Yates, rector of The Falls Church, told his congregation recently that no matter how the court finally rules, it will be years before they will actually have to depart the premises. That’s because of planned lengthy court appeals, he said, even though he conceded that contingency plans are underway.
Benton proceeds to relate several quotes from the conservative faction, which leads to an interesting response from Patrick Getlein, secretary of the diocese:
A statement from the Rev. Frederick Wright of The Falls Church on behalf of the defrocked priests said that the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia had no authority to defrock them, since they’d all already left and aligned with the Nigerian Anglicans. As “they remain Anglican clergy no longer in service of the Episcopal Church,” he said, “the church cannot dispose or remove them from their pulpits.”
James Oakes, also speaking for the defectors, said it was “like trying to fire someone after they quit their job.”
Replying to that, Getlein said yesterday, in the context of the legal fight over control of the church property, “That’s an interesting comment and it occurs to me that trying to take Episcopal Church property after you’ve left the Episcopal Church is like trying to take your office after you quit your job.”
The whole thing is here.
(Coverage from the Lead on this decision ran over the weekend, here and here.)