Orange County Superior Court Judge Kim Dunning today granted a motion for summary adjudication in favor of the Episcopal Church declaring the church properties in Long Beach and North Hollywood are held in trust for the current and future mission of the Diocese of Los Angeles and the general church.
“I give thanks for this ruling. After nearly eight years, we appreciate the Court’s conclusion confirming the church properties of All Saints and St. David’s belong to the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles,” said the Rt. Rev. J. Jon Bruno, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles.
John R. Shiner, lead counsel for the Diocese, added, “Today’s ruling marks the third occasion that a Court has determined property under the control of a departing parish rightfully belongs to the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles.”
As the result of recent court action, The Falls Church Anglican, a congregation of 4,000 worshippers in Falls Church, Va., will soon move out of its historic home as it continues its ministry. Some in the congregation have worshipped on the church campus for more than 60 years, with the original property dating back almost 300 years. While the cost of leaving the property is great, members of The Falls Church Anglican are celebrating as they stand on their orthodox faith and continue to spread the transforming love of Jesus Christ beyond the church walls.
The Falls Church Anglican is being forced to leave its long-time home on May 15 as the result of a judicial ruling rejecting its request for a suspension (authorization to remain on its property during an appeal) of the January 2012 decision and March 2012 Final Order.
“While we are saddened by leaving this Christ-centered place of worship, we rejoice at the outpouring of encouragement and offers of assistance, including furnishings and building space from Presbyterians, Baptists, Catholics and other friends. Through these many blessings, we are equipped with the knowledge that God has great plans in store for our congregation. Ultimately, our passion for spreading the Gospel and reaching the lost will not wane,” said The Rev. Dr. John Yates, rector of The Falls Church Anglican.
According to Rev. Yates, the challenge has not hindered the congregation in its ministries and missions. “In spite of the litigation since 2006, we have established thriving, independent ‘daughter’ churches in Alexandria, Arlington, Vienna and beyond. We hope to plant our seventh daughter church this year in the District of Colombia. Meanwhile, we have more than 2,000 people in worship and fellowship each Sunday. Also, more than 450 teenagers participate in one of the largest youth programs on the East Coast.”
Junior Warden Carol Jackson added, “For several years we have been experiencing the power of healing prayer in our own congregation and recently began a partnership to extend that ministry in the Baileys Crossroads area, with Columbia Baptist Church and St. Anthony of Padua Catholic Church. Together, we minister to the poor and the immigrants among us in the Culmore Clinic. People from all walks of life, all faiths, and all economic situations, now have a safe place to ask for and receive prayer and excellent medical treatment.”
Between 2005 and 2007, The Falls Church Anglican and 14 sister Virginia congregations voted by overwhelming majorities to separate from The Episcopal Church and the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia. The move was taken because the congregations determined that The Episcopal Church had drifted so far from orthodox Christianity that they could not in good conscience remain under its spiritual authority.
“The cost to the congregation has been and will be huge. Locating available worship space for a church of our size and office space for over 100 staff and volunteer ministry leaders remains extremely challenging. In spite of this adversity, we remain steadfast in our decision to take a bold stand for the authority of Scripture,” said Senior Warden Sam Thomsen.
The Falls Church Anglican has remained at the forefront in the formation of orthodox Anglican institutions in North America. Members of the parish have been leaders in the creation of the Anglican Church in North America, the fast growing (nearly 1,000 congregations and 100,000 worshippers) national organization, and the Anglican Diocese of the Mid-Atlantic (38 congregations and nearly 6,000 worshippers each Sunday), in Virginia, Maryland, North Carolina, and the District of Columbia.
“We leave without resentment or acrimony; we pray only the best for those who will follow us in our historic church, that the transforming Good News of Christ will always be proclaimed in this place,” Rev. Yates concluded.
On Sunday, May 13, The Falls Church Anglican will hold services at its current location, 115 E. Fairfax Street in Falls Church, Va. Services of praise and thanksgiving will also be held later that evening. All are welcome to attend and are invited to future worship services as well. Please check the church website (www.TFCAnglican.org) for service times and locations.
The Falls Church Anglican is a member congregation of the newly established Diocese of the Mid-Atlantic, a regional and growing diocese of the Anglican Church in North America dedicated to reaching North America with the transforming love of Jesus Christ. The Diocese consists of 38 member congregations.