The Rev. John Ohmer, who has served as the rector of the historic Falls Church Episcopal Church since 2012, issued a letter to his congregation today saying he will be leaving his post for a new assignment in Asheville, North Carolina, in November. Ohmer has overseen a considerable revival of the church following a contentious seven-year struggle to regain control of the church property from a group of defectors in the church who refused to relinquish it following their vote to defect in 2005.
By 2012 the Diocese of Virginia had secured the site following a number of court rulings, including a final refusal of the U.S. Supreme Court to hear an appeal by the defectors, who had identified themselves as an arm of the Nigerian Anglican church. They defected on grounds of their opposition to the U.S. Episcopal Church’s election of an openly-gay bishop in 2003.
During his tenure, Ohmer has led the restored Episcopal congregation with a number of important initiatives to affirm its commitment to social justice and equality, and to engage the local City of Falls Church community in a wide array of supportive and collaborative activities.
In his statement to his congregation today, Ohmer wrote, “I have discerned that the time has come for me to hand off leadership to your next leader, whomever he or she may be, and respond positively to a call to a new and different race myself. And so I write to you today to announce that I have accepted a call to become the Interim Dean of The Cathedral of All Souls in Asheville, North Carolina. My last day here as your Rector will be November 1st. Our last Sunday together will be Sunday, October 27th, and my first Sunday at All Souls Cathedral will be in mid-November, after Mary and I move to Asheville.”