Message from The Rev. Dr. John Yates II
to Parishioners of The Falls Church
on the announcement of the decision June 10
of The Supreme Court of Virginia
What does this mean?
This is a very disappointing result, to be sure, but the ruling is not the final chapter in our legal case. The court's decision to reject our reading of the division statute means that the case will go back to the circuit court in Fairfax, and that the outcome of the case, if not resolved outside of court, will depend upon our other defenses and arguments. The Episcopal Church and the Diocese must still carry the burden of showing, apart from the division statute, that they are the rightful owners of this property, which is titled in our own name. It would be premature to say more now, and we do not know just what the future holds. But please know that our legal team and other leaders are giving this ruling careful study and prayerfully considering how God would have us respond.
More importantly, we can be confident that the ruling is not the "final judgment" in a spiritual sense. And all this week I have been reminding myself of what we do know for certain in this matter. We know that:
God is real. God is good. God is all knowing and all powerful.
God has called us to a walk of faith and obedience through Jesus Christ.
Jesus promised his followers not only a full and abundant life, but trouble, affliction, and pain. We walk the way of the cross, which is the way of life everlasting, but a life of hardship as well.
Any lack that we may have is an opportunity for us to learn afresh that God loves to bless us, supply our needs, and guide our steps.
Nothing can separate us from Him.
I hope very much that you can join me at an historic worship gathering tomorrow evening, Friday, June 11, at 7:30 pm in the main sanctuary (childcare available for children 3 years and under). Our Bishop Martyn Minns will be with us at this worship service. This will be a very special time of prayer and praise, listening to God, and hearing from a number of our leaders. We want everyone to be fully informed about this decision. It is certainly a major development. This is not a public meeting but is for church members only, and for any members of the other Anglican churches in the Anglican District of Virginia.
I'm so looking forward to being with you tomorrow night as we come together to express our trust in God, to seek His guidance, and to worship Him. As King David wrote: "I will bless the Lord at all times. His praise shall continually be in my mouth." Psalm 34:1.
He is faithful!
In the family,