Law from 1867 relates to Episcopal fight, judge says

Property disputes in Civil War times
A Virginia court has ruled that a Civil War–era law applies to a property dispute between the state’s Episcopal diocese and 11 congregations that have seceded from it. The state law in question, which dates to 1867, relates to the settlement of property disputes when there is a division in a church or religious society.

“The Court finds that the evidence of a ‘division’ within the diocese, the [Episcopal Church], and the Anglican Communion is not only compelling but overwhelming,” wrote Judge Randy I. Bellows of the Fairfax County Circuit Court in the April 3 ruling.

The 11 breakaway churches, which include the large Truro and Falls Church congregations, have gathered as the Anglican District of Virginia, a subdivision of a group called the Convocation of Anglicans in North America. They are now fighting with the Virginia diocese and the Episcopal Church over who gets to keep church property, which has been estimated to be worth tens of millions of dollars.


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