Breakaway Anglicans Plan Appeal to U.S. Supreme Court

The leaders of the Falls Church congregation that broke away from the Episcopal Church to call themselves Falls Church Anglicans said this week they plan to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court. The F.C. Anglican congregation will ask the high court to overturn the Virginia Supreme Court’s April 30 ruling in favor of the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia.

That state ruling upheld a 2012 decision that allowed The Falls Church Episcopal to return to its historic church home in downtown Falls Church. An earlier appeal by the Anglican group to the Supreme Court of Virginia for reconsideration of its unanimous decision was denied in June.

“It is unfortunate that this litigation continues,” said the Rt. Rev. Shannon S. Johnston, Episcopal bishop of Virginia. “Nonetheless, we remain committed to focusing our energies on the work of the Church. The Falls Church Episcopal continues to grow and thrive, and we all look forward to a time when we can put these issues behind us for good.” Those sentiments were echoed by the Rev. John Ohmer, rector of The Falls Church Episcopal. The Anglican congregation has until Sept. 12 to file its notice of appeal and the U.S. Supreme Court is expected to make a decision on whether to hear the appeal toward the end of this year.

Meanwhile, the breakaway Anglicans continue to confront difficulties finding places to worship on Sundays. Its rector, the Rev. John Yates, announced that services over the coming month will bounce from Bishop O’Connell High School auditorium to Kenmore Middle School to the Fairview Marriott, the O’Connell High gym and the NOVA Community College auditorium, and their temporary office lease is running out.