[VirtueOnline] 13 July 2007--A leader for 19 churches that have left The Episcopal Church (TEC) in the Diocese of Virginia and affiliated with two orthodox African Anglican provinces, says that the Episcopal Church's "terrorizing tactics" will fail and the volunteer laity of those churches being sued by the diocese are immune from civil liability.
Jim Oakes, vice-chairman of the Anglican District of Virginia for 15 Convocation of Anglican Nigerians in Americas (CANA) affiliated churches plus four with the Province of Uganda, told VirtueOnline, "We are supremely confident with what we have done and with the right motives. We have already won. The legal fights are merely distracting and unfortunate."
Oakes said he could find no motive for the Episcopal Church's suing lay individuals except with the motive "to terrorize us."
"Virginia law is abundantly clear that voluntary leaders of non-profit organizations are immune from civil liability unless the plaintive alleges willful misconduct or criminal negligence and they have not alleged any of this," he told VOL. "They are trying to terrorize people and we believe that their only intention it to send a signal to lay church leaders across the country who follow us. They are trying to implement a dampening effect on other churches that are looking at us and hope they will lie low and not try and leave the Episcopal Church. Attorneys for the diocese and The Episcopal Church are following a scorched earth policy."