Former Episcopal Congregations Celebrate Court Victory

McLEAN, Virginia (AP) - Eleven conservative congregations that quit the Episcopal Church are celebrating a judge's ruling that they still own their church buildings.

A Virginia judge ruled Friday that the departing congregations can keep their property as they realign under the authority of conservative Anglican bishops from Africa.

The division was sparked by the 2003 ordination of an openly gay
Episcopal bishop, with conservative congregations saying the church
had abandoned Biblical teachings and authority.

The congregations voted to realign in late 2006. Since then, the rift in the Episcopal Church has grown, and entire dioceses have voted to leave the denomination.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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