[Washington Times] 23 Dec 2008--Fairfax Circuit Court Judge Randy I. Bellows on Friday issued a fourth straight ruling in favor of a group of 11 conservative Episcopal churches that left the denomination two years ago this month — dismayed over issues of biblical authority and the prospect of gay clergy.
The Episcopal Diocese of Virginia immediately said it would appeal the huge multiproperty lawsuit, the largest in the history of the Episcopal Church. The conservatives took millions of dollars of historic property in Northern Virginia with them when they left.
The judge dismissed a last-ditch effort by the diocese to keep the property when it claimed in September that part of the historic Falls Church in Falls Church city is actually owned by Christ Episcopal Church in Alexandria.
The judge seemed incredulous that the diocese would make such a claim, which, he said, contradicted the testimony of one of the experts — church historian Edward L. Bond — who appeared on the stand on behalf of the organization.