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VIRGINIA: Diocese, All Saints' Church agree on disposition of property


 All Saints' Church in Dale City, Virginia  

[Episcopal News Service]  Bishop Peter Lee of the Diocese of Virginia, the diocese's Standing Committee and Executive Board, and the Vestry of All Saints' Church in Dale City announced November 9 that they have reached an agreement on the disposition of real and personal property in the event that the congregation votes to end its affiliation with the Episcopal Church and the diocese.

The church plans to hold a congregational meeting in early December. It has been at odds with Lee, the diocese and the Episcopal Church since Lee and the diocese's deputation to the 2003 General Convention joined the Convention's majority in consenting to Gene Robinson's consecration as the Bishop of New Hampshire.

The agreement is nine months in the making.

"I believe today we have reached an agreement that shows forth the fruits of Christian charity to our brothers and sisters at All Saints', while honoring our responsibility as stewards of property in the Diocese of Virginia," said Lee in statement posted on both the diocese's and All Saints' websites.

Lee said that his "fervent hope is that the people of All Saints' will not vote to leave the Episcopal Church," according to the statement.

"In this time of division within the Episcopal Church and even our own diocese, we are grateful to God and to each other that we were able to reach an amicable, Christ-like resolution of our differences," the Rev. John Guernsey, rector of All Saints', said in the statement. "This agreement enables both All Saints' and the Diocese to move ahead with our respective missions and the work of ministering God's love to people in Virginia. We pray the very best for one another as we go forward."

Details of the agreement are not public, the statement said. However, it provides for the transfer of title to the consecrated property from trustees for the congregation to the diocese. The property has a mortgage of about $188,000 from the diocesan Missionary Society, which the diocese has agreed to assume.

The diocese will then lease the property to the congregation for five years at $1 rent per year and all costs of use and maintenance while All Saints' builds on other property.

The complete text of the statement, including more provisions of the agreement, is available here.