A judge has ruled that The Episcopal Church should be restored as the owner of several historic churches in Virginia, years after the denomination was essentially evicted by local congregations dismayed with Episcopals' liberal theology.
The judge on Tuesday reversed a ruling he made in 2008 giving custody to the conservative congregations. The Virginia Supreme Court overturned that ruling and ordered a new trial.
At issue is ownership of seven Virginia churches, including two historic congregations that trace their roots to George Washington: Truro Church in Fairfax and The Falls Church, for which the city of Falls Church is named.
The congregations voted to leave The Episcopal Church in 2006 following the Episcopals' consecration of an openly gay bishop and other theological disputes.
The conservative congregations are considering an appeal.