Falls Church Episcopal recently appointed the Rev. Michael Pipkin to Priest in Charge of the church, after he served four years of active duty as a Navy Chaplain, including time in Iraq. Pipkin aims to focus primarily on youth and young adult education while figuring out ways to reach out to the community. On Sunday, April 20, the church is holding a Celebration Service and luncheon after its 11 a.m. mass, which the retired Revered Peter James Lee, Bishop of the Diocese of Virginia will attend. For more information, please contact Parish Communications Director Robin Fetsch at 703-532-8818.As was necessary in the previous post, perhaps a word of explanation is needed for you to grasp the significance of this announcement.
Falls Church Episcopal is made up of Episcopalians who remained faithful to the Episcopal Church after the majority of the original Falls Church decided to join the Church of Nigeria. Let me allow Blueweeds to offer a fuller explanation of the situation in Falls Church:
...Let's continue with The Falls Church (Nigerian) ... okay, I really don't know where to start here. George Washington helped start the church as an Episcopal Church in the Diocese of Virginia. It served as a hospital during the Civil War. Then around 1990 it was taken over by Reaganite think tank conservatives who had gotten into trouble in Nicaragua (see Iran Contra) for trying to use the church to overthrow a democratically elected government which turned out to be communist. The Reaganites developed a "secret plan" to use select Episcopal Churches in the US to fight the newest threat, Muslim extremists - the plan requires weakening the US Episcopal Church via a series of wedge issues on the ordination of gays, women, and fights over the ownership of church property. (No I'm not just making this up). The Reaganites evicted a bunch of foreign-owned haberdasheries next door in hopes of expanding. But the church misplaced a bunch of money so it couldn't expand. The church attracted a lot of evangelicals and conservatives. The Diocese of Virginia ordained a gay and then a woman as Presiding Bishop. The Falls Church (Nigerian) stopped sending money to the Virginia Diocese. The Falls Church (Nigerian) congregation formally divorces and disassociates itself from the Episcopal Church. The church no longer refers to itself as Episcopal, but wants to be called by its maiden name (see FCNP story here). The new church refuses to vacate the Episcopal property. Refuses to allow the continuing congregation of Episcopals to access their church. The church then re-marries a Nigerian hottie who wants to imprison gays, women, and incites his followers to riot against Muslims. The continuing Episcopal congregation now lives quietly across the street on a couch in the loft with its Presbyterian friends. The church that ran off with the foreign tart sits in the fancy house it doesn't own, throws wild parties with its new Nigerian in-laws, and regularly refers to its ex as "the gay church across the street," "non-believing neighbors," "non-Christians," and snidely implies that its ex is a pedophile ("I feel so much more in line with [my new Nigerian family]. There are hardly any bishops in the Episcopal Church that I'd even want my children in Sunday school with.")In case you wonder about the reference to the take over by "Reaganite think tank conservatives," you may want to take a look at this article:
...The announcement about the Virginia parishes has been directed by the skillful spokespeople at the Institute for Religion and Democracy (IRD), a neo-conservative Washington think-tank that has innumerable connections, through its board of directors and officers, to the conservative Washington area parishes that have recently left the Episcopal Church. These parishes have been home to prominent conservatives such as Oliver North and Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, as well as top-level IRD Episcopalians. For instance, Fox News commentator Fred Barnes is a member of the Falls Church congregation, and serves on the Board of the IRD; Fox has covered this story extensively and sympathetically, interviewing Barnes as part of a roundtable discussion, but never mentioning his IRD connection...In case you may have forgotten, it was Falls Church (Nigerian) member Fred Barnes who launched the smear campaign against Bp. Robinson the day before the House of Bishops was to vote on giving consent to his election at GC 2003.
Regarding the choice of Falls Church(Nigeria) to reject the "immoral" Episcopal Church and align themselves with Abp. Peter Akinola, Edge has an interesting article about Akinola's "morality." The caption to a picture of the Archbishop says it all:
Anglican Archbishop Peter Akinola has worked tirelessly to terrorize LGBT Nigerians. Now, he’s taken his act on the road--to the U.S., to head an anti-gay breakaway mega-archdiocese.The faithful Falls Church Episcopal members have been barred from the use of their building by the anti-gay breakaway church who still claim the building. The Presbyterian Church has graciously allowed them to use loft space in their building until the Virginia courts eventually evict the Nigerian group.
And, from all appearances, Falls Church Episcopal is flourishing. After more than a year of exile from their historic church home, the continuing Episcopal parish has grown to include members of all ages, has a marvelous music ministry as well as children and youth programs, and has taken on some impressive outreach projects.
May we share in Falls Church Episcopal's celebration of a new ministry. Congratulations to them for their perseverence. We pray that they will continue to press on toward the Kingdom!
UPDATE: For the record, we should note the corrections needed in a couple of the above quotes. In the first quote, the Bishop of Virginia is The Right Reverend Peter James Lee, not "the Revered." And he has not retired. Regarding the third quote, I have been informed that although Oliver North is an Episcopalian, he is not a member of any of the break away Virginia congregations.