Congregation once led by Robert E. Lee votes to remove his name from their church

Image courtesy of WAVY

LEXINGTON, Va. (AP) – A church in Virginia that Robert E. Lee belonged to after the Civil War will no longer be named after the Confederate general.

Leaders of R.E. Lee Memorial Episcopal Church voted Monday to return to the parish’s original name of Grace Episcopal Church.

Lee became a member of Grace’s congregation after moving to Lexington, Virginia.

The renaming follows a divisive two-year debate that prompted some congregants to leave the parish.

Discussions began after white supremacist Dylann Roof killed nine people at a black church in Charleston, South Carolina, in 2015.

The Rev. Tom Crittenden, rector at Grace Episcopal, said the church moved toward the name change after last month’s deadly violence in Charlottesville, Virginia. White nationalists had rallied around a statue of Lee that is slated for removal.

This is a developing story. Stay with 8News online and on air for the latest updates.

Never miss another Facebook post from 8News

Find 8News on TwitterFacebook, and Instagram; send your news tips to