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Another Church Leaves Episcopal Diocese of Virginia

Holy Spirit Joins Anglican Church of Uganda

The Church of the Holy Spirit’s Rev. Clancy Nixon celebrates mass with his 230-member congregation on Sunday mornings at Mill Run Elementary School in Ashburn.

For the past two years, the founding pastor and his Board of Trustees have wrestled with idea of leaving the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia.

In 2004, Nixon appointed a group of leaders to "look into difficulties" they had with the Episcopal Church.

"We spent two years wrestling, researching, praying, conferring," Nixon said. "The group made a recommendation that the church change its affiliation."

On Sunday, Feb. 5, 88 members of the Church of the Holy Spirit unanimously voted to disaffiliate with the Episcopal Church USA and the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia.

THE CHURCH OF the Holy Spirit is the second Loudoun County church to leave the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia and join the Anglican Church of Uganda.

South Riding Church left the Virginia Diocese in November 2005, in protest of the diocese’s appointment of an openly gay bishop in 2003.

Nixon said the Church of the Holy Spirit joined the Anglican Church of Uganda because the Episcopal Church is "making decisions that do not follow the authority of Holy Scriptures."

"This leads to other problems, problems of belief, problems of behavior," Nixon said. "Bishops engaged in sexual relations outside of holy matrimony."

The Episcopal Diocese of Virginia’s secretary Patrick Getlein said the diocese is concerned.

"We have two congregations whose lay members decided they did not want to participate with the Episcopal Church," he said. "But it is still our congregation. Lay people can belong to any church or no church. They voted together to leave the Episcopal Church."

THE CHURCH OF the Holy Spirit was founded in 2001 as a mission of Truro Church in Fairfax. It does not own any land or buildings and will return its assets to Truro Church, as a result of its disaffiliation with the diocese.

The Ashburn church continues to worship at Mill Run Elementary School in the Broadlands neighborhood.

The Episcopal Diocese of Virginia is "exploring planting a new church in South Riding," Getlein said. "It is still a mission area for us."