Magazine article The Christian Century

Property Fight in Virginia Costs Millions

Magazine article The Christian Century

Property Fight in Virginia Costs Millions

Article excerpt

THE COURT BATTLE over church assets between the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia and 11 breakaway congregations has already cost both sides more than $2 million between them, according to representatives.

The secessionist Anglican District of Virginia has spent about $1 million on legal fees thus far and anticipates spending as much as $3 million to $5 million on the litigation, said vice chair Jim Oakes. The money is being raised through donations from the 11 churches, Oakes said, though only five had contributed by early January.

Patrick N. Getlein, a spokesperson for the Diocese of Virginia, said it has spent "over a million" on legal fees to date. The diocese recently reported that it has taken out a $2 million line of credit for the litigation.

Financial figures from the national Episcopal Church, which is also a party in the litigation, were not immediately available. The national church is not helping the diocese pay its legal fees, Getlein said.

Citing theological disagreements with the national church's increasing acceptance of gays and lesbians, the 11 congregations split from the diocese and the Episcopal Church in January 2007. …

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