The next round in the litigation between The Episcopal Church/The Diocese of Virginia and the congregations in Virginia that voted to separate following Bishop Lee’s protocol and the statute 57-9 (which has been found to be both applicable and constitutional on all counts but one that has yet to be ruled) is today in the Fairfax Court House.
Judge Randy Bellows will be hearing arguments concerning the property clause of the U.S. Constitution and 57-9. The Attorney General of the Commonwealth of Virginia has re-entered the case to defend the constitutionality of the statute. In addition, the Diocese has now thought up a new strategy and that is to assert that the eleven congregations “waived” 57-9 – which is sort of odd since they’ve never mentioned that before now. Guess we’ll see what that’s all about.
Again, please keep the events today in Judge Bellow’s court in your prayers. I understand that millions have been spent over the last month or so by the diocese in preparation for today. Please keep your powder dry and your prayers unfurled.
NOTE: And for the record, the congregations did not sue anyone. They filed their votes with the court following the law of the Commonwealth of Virginia. The Standstill Agreement made it clear that this was not a hostile act or that the congregations were suing anyone – hardly. It was the Diocese and The Episcopal Church that called off negotiations and filed not one but two lawsuits against the eleven congregations and nearly 200 volunteers and their rectors. Let’s just be clear about that.