In 2006, The Falls Church and six sister congregations in Northern Virginia voted (overwhelmingly) to pull out of the Episcopal Church because, in our view, it had drifted so far from orthodox Christianity that we could not remain in good conscience.
Reasons for the division have been mainly theological, particularly focused on how we interpret the Bible, and what doctrines of the Christian faith are essential for leaders to maintain. The doctrinal divides have been widening for several decades, and in 2003 when a practicing homosexual was consecrated as Episcopal bishop, many realized that the divisions in the church were unresolvable.
Following our decision to withdraw were a series of lawsuits over the ownership of the church property we believed to be ours: the original church dating back almost 300 years, the new sanctuary that seats 1,000 that was built in 1991, the house in which my wife and I have lived for 33 years, most of the funds in the church’s accounts, and so forth.
A trial court decided in our favor, but that decision was reversed on appeal. After a second trial, a Fairfax County judge has given us the final order to depart.