News Briefs

May 3 – 9, 2007

2 Armed Robberies Hit Downtown Falls Church

Late last Friday night, two armed robberies took place within an hour of each other in downtown Falls Church. There have been no arrests. At 11:54 p.m. a 15-year-old was walking home when he was followed and then robbed at knife-point in the 100 block of Chanel Terrace, at the Lee Square Apartments, making off with $18 in his wallet and a student ID card. Then, at 12:51 a.m. in the 100 block of S. Spring Street, a victim was forced behind the Boy Scout House and pinned to the ground. One suspect pointed a gun at him, a second held a knife to his throat and a third went through his pockets, taking a wallet with $10 in cash and a debit card. They also took the victim’s back pack, Ipod and stereo speakers.   


Nigerian Bishop Akinola Steps Into Virginia for Installation

Nigerian Bishop Peter Akinola, who is the Anglican figure that 13 congregations in Virginia aligned with, upon departure from the Episcopal Church last December, is coming to Virginia this Saturday to perform a formal installation of the Rev. Martyn Minns of the Truro Church in Fairfax City as the bishop heading the so-called Convocation of Anglicans in North America (CANA). The ceremony will occur at the Hylton Chapel in Woodbridge Saturday at 12:30 p.m. Reacting to this news, the Rev. Peter Lee, bishop of the Virginia diocese of the Episcopal Church, issued the following statement: “The church of Nigeria, like the Episcopal Church, is an autonomous province of the Anglican Communion with clearly defined boundaries. Bonds of affection in the Anglican Communion hold that provincial boundaries are not crossed by bishops without expressed invitation. Bishop Akinola’s effort to establish the Church of Nigeria within the boundaries of the Episcopal Church…has occurred without any invitation or authorization whatsoever and violates centuries of established Anglican heritage. As the Archbishop of Canterbury has made clear, CANA is not a branch of the Anglican Communion and does not have his encouragement.” The move of those to defect from the Episcopal Church in favor of Bishop Akinola was precipitated by the Episcopal Church’s elevation of the openly-gay Rev. Eugene Robinson to status as a bishop in November 2003.


New Signage Drops ‘Episcopal’ from Falls Church

New signage in front of the historic Falls Church downtown in the City of Falls Church has just been installed that excludes the reference to “Episcopal.” The development follows the vote by members of the church’s congregation to defect from the Episcopal Church USA last December and comes even though no court ruling has yet determined whether the property will be retained by the Episcopal Church’s Diocese of Virginia or will continue to be held by those in the congregation who voted to defect. The first hearing in court suit over the rights to the property is slated to be held before Judge Randy I. Bellows in Fairfax next month. The Rev. John Yates, who leads the defectors that have aligned themselves with Nigerian Anglican Bishop Peter Akinola, has advertised a forum at the church this Tuesday by saying, “We host a gathering to consider how best to communicate God’s unchanging values in a culture that celebrates political correctness, inclusiveness, and multiculturalism, but abhors absolutes.”


Whipple Announces Re-Election Bid

Virginia State Senator Mary Margaret Whipple formally announced this week her plans to seek re-election to her 31st District seat this November. Now completing her third four-year term in office, Whipple chairs the Senate Democratic Caucus. She serves on five standing committees in the Senate, including agriculture, conservation, natural resources, education and health, local government, privileges and elections and rules. In 2006 she was named an “Architect of Change” by the Virginia Housing Coalition and Public Advocate of the Year by the Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy. Last May she was listed by Washingtonian Magazine as one of the Washington region’s “100 Most Powerful Women.” She has twice been selected as “Legislator of the Year” by the pro-environmental Chesapeake Bay Foundation. Prior to her election to the State Senate, she served from 1983 to 1995 on the Arlington County Board and before that on the Arlington School Board. Her 31st District includes most of Arlington and the City of Falls Church.


Correction: Linda Smyth and Edens and Avant

In the News-Press article on Merrifield development last week, the names of Fairfax Supervisor Linda Smyth and principle town center developer Edens and Avant were misspelled. The News-Press apologizes for the errors.