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Va. court: Episcopal Church owns disputed property

Thursday - 4/18/2013, 1:15pm  ET

Associated Press

RICHMOND, Va. -- The Virginia Supreme Court has ruled in favor of the Episcopal Church in a property dispute with a breakaway congregation.

The unanimous decision Thursday affirmed a lower court's ruling that the Episcopal Church retained ownership of the historic Falls Church, which voted in 2006 to align with the more conservative Anglican Communion. The Falls Church was one of seven Virginia congregations that left the Episcopal Church because of theological differences, including the 2003 consecration of an openly gay bishop in New Hampshire.

The Falls Church was founded in 1732 and traces its roots to George Washington. The justices said the congregation's attempt to withdraw but still maintain the property violated its fiduciary duty to the Episcopal Church and its Virginia Diocese.

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