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VIRGINIA: Bishop 'saddened' by mission's decision to dissolve


The congregation of Christ our Lord now worships at the Woodbridge Seventh-Day Adventist Church.  

[Episcopal News Service]  Bishop Peter Lee of the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia, said recently that the decision by Christ our Lord, Lake Ridge, Virginia, a parochial mission of All Saints', Dale City, Virginia, saddens and disappoints him.

"I am saddened by this departure and by the mission's apparent failure to thrive," said Lee in a statement posted on the diocese's website. "I am also disappointed to not have heard of plans for this action directly from the leadership of the congregation prior to their taking this action."

According to Lee's statement, the mission voted October 15 to dissolve itself and reform under the aegis of the Diocese of North Kigezi in the Anglican Church of Uganda. The Rev. George Beaven had been vicar of the congregation.

"The church structure on Omisol Road in Lake Ridge, title to which is held by the Diocese, was abandoned following the Sunday decision," according to Lee's statement. "Though the building was abandoned, the note securing the property has a balance due of $420,000 and is five months in arrears."

The property was purchased in 1997 with a $500,000 loan from the Diocesan Missionary Society, the statement said.

"Though the real estate was abandoned to the Diocese, other property -- computer equipment, sound equipment, intellectual property, the parish register and bank accounts -- were not turned over to the Diocese," the statement said.

Bishop Suffragan David Colin Jones visited the property October 19 and secured a number of documents and other items and has taken possession of the keys to the property, according to the statement. The diocese is also making arrangements to continue utility service to the building, which the leadership had arranged to be terminated.

The Rev. Churchill Gibson, a priest of diocese, will reportedly celebrate Eucharist at the church on October 29.

Lee's full statement is available here.