Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Virginia Episcopal Bishop Sues Exiting Churches to Confiscate Property

A split within the Episcopal Church has begun and is on its way to court -- something akin to "divorce court," it seems.

More than 100 Episcopal parishes -- and some dioceses -- have either left the denomination or requested alternative oversight within the worldwide Anglican Communion. One of them is St. Stephen's Church in Heathsville, Va.

"We left the Episcopal Church because we could no longer be under the leadership of people who have the attitude that they did about the authority of Scripture," said the Rev. Jeffrey Cerar, rector of St. Stephen's. "Starting several years ago, the Episcopal Church elected and put in place a homosexual bishop and did so in disregard of the Scriptures. It was just a symptom of a much larger problem, which is that the leadership of the Episcopal Church does not regard Scripture as authoritative in the same sense that Christians always have before."

He added: "One of the symptoms of the church now is that the new presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church, (Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schorri) is saying that Christ is not the only way to salvation -- just a way."

Cerar's church is one of 11 that recently left the Virginia diocese. Bishop Peter Lee, in return, filed suit against each of the 11, seeking to confiscate the church properties -- and has taken steps to defrock 27 clergy associated with those churches.

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