Va. Justices to Hear Church Property Dispute

April 13, 2010

The Virginia Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in a property dispute between the Episcopal Church and nine breakaway congregations that aligned with a more conservative Anglican Church.

A judge in Fairfax County ruled last year that state law allows the departing congregations to keep their buildings and other church property worth an estimated $30 million to $40 million. The Episcopal Diocese of Virginia appealed. Arguments are set for Tuesday.

Eleven Virginia congregations split from the diocese after disagreements over the acceptance of gays and lesbians in the church. They also cite differences over the ordination of female clergy and interpretations of the Bible.

The diocese reached settlements with two congregations.

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