The Falls Church Anglican Open Its New Home After Defeat From Episcopal Denomination


The Falls Church — the church that’s such a landmark the Northern Virginia town was named for its congregation — is for the first time in its almost 300-year history two individual churches in just two buildings.

The church started splintering in 2006 when members voted to leave their Episcopal denomination since it’d ordained a homosexual bishop. What followed was a bitter courtroom battle along with a split to two congregations — just one liberal and small, another big and conservative.

And after seven decades of drifting to the huge collection, what followed Sunday because congregants walked for their first time service in their own brand new construction was a collective sigh of”Ultimately” Since they looked out on the 968 chairs in the pews of this long, white refuge.

The congregation raised countless make a new church after dropping its struggle to maintain the historical Falls Church construction, the iconic brick construction at which George Washington worshiped.

Church observers watched the court’s conclusion as a harbinger for bitterly divided congregations across lots of the country’s denominations amid a global struggle between liberal and conservative theology.

However, this month, since the Falls Church Anglican celebrates its new home, members talk enthusiastically in their new place, instead of bitterly about what they dropped.

“I understand it was the ideal option. Seven is ending.

It feels like home in lots of ways,” Penny Snare explained.


The church bought a $31 million, five-acre property using a five-story office construction and is generating earnings (where it pays taxation, unlike on contributions by parishioners) by leasing out space to the building’s tenants, the majority of which are medical offices.

Certainly, this is really a deep-pocketed congregation. There are no plaques or chambers named for individuals who donated cash.

Ferguson explained that was a pick, exactly like the choice to have plain windows rather than glass on the active boulevard in which the church stays. “We need people to find out what is happening and feel really welcome,” he explained.

The church is just south west of this building where the team started, although that area was mostly white and rich (such as this tribe and Episcopalians nationally ( on average), their brand new place is at a locality popular with current immigrants.

“It appears to be a mile, however, it is a really different universe,” Ferguson explained. The church intends to give live Spanish translation in services, beginning with after a month. “We wish to become a church in which five years from today our neighbors are happy we are here, instead of just indifferent or frustrated we produce a traffic jam on Sunday mornings”

Jennifer Parker, a longtime member, stated among her hopes for the new construction is the congregation gets considerably more racially diverse. “That is indeed amazing,” she explained.

The determining factor was that the appointment of a homosexual man as a bishop.

These days, Ferguson and members of the church state it had been the ideal choice, though they are inclined to highlight that it was not only about the existence of a homosexual man in church leadership.

“For us, there has just been one solution we think is the manner. And that is not a popular belief .”

The breakaway Falls Church congregation, together with a few additional Virginia churches, created a book workaround. They opted to depart the U.S. church and rather come under the direction of an Anglican bishop in Nigeria, who’d gone so far as to endorse a law which would make homosexual sex punishable by imprisonment.

Now the Falls Church Anglican is just one of over 1,600 churches in North America which spot as “Anglican, “maybe not”Episcopal” — a brand new evangelical denomination that rejects the Episcopal adopt of LGBT addition but preserves similar liturgy.

The Virginia churches which broke away contended that they, not their denomination, need to continue to keep their possessions and bank balances. The denomination contended that individual members even most of the members of a specific church could opt to leave a church in any moment, but could not take with them the land that belonged to the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia.

This left the Episcopal Church the proprietors of a historical building needing a congregation.

Only 35 people had determined to stay Falls Church Episcopalians if the church split. Throughout the years of this courtroom struggle that amount grew to 80, who transferred back to the contested construction once the judgment came down in their own favor.

It had been much too small a group, they understood, to encourage a place that had lately housed 2,000 each Sunday.

Now, the Falls Church Episcopal, under a mile out of the brand new construction of its original counterpart, has nearly 600 members, according to the Rev. John Ohmer, that was rector because 2012 but lately announced he’ll leave for another church standing.

“It is a really large space for a rather small group of individuals. I have learned not to examine the empty seats. I have learned to have a look at the folks,” Ohmer said.

The little group manages the fiscal burden of this massive church, he explained, by leasing out the building that was when the church’s education wing as retail area, and by paying the attention generated from the once-contested $2 million bank accounts the Virginia courts dominated belonged to the Episcopal Church.

The Falls Church Anglican shrank from roughly 2,000 worshipers per week to approximately 1,200 from the years with no construction. A few of those members left for the six new churches this tribe has helped launching throughout the area.

Ferguson expects that the new space will entice new and bigger audiences. And he’s awed to have made it to this stage:”If you simply drove up to some church,” he mused,”together with 2,000 members, 55 staff, and you said,’Should they lose what, do you think that they’ll still be together seven decades? ‘Not a Opportunity.’