Friday, November 17, 2006

Fort Worth Convention This Weekend

This Star-Telegraph article gives the overview of what's at stake for Fort Worthians this weekend. For a more personal reflection, see Katie Sherrod's blog: Desert's Child -- and ponder for just a moment what we could be accomplishing if all the energy being expended on fomenting this schism was pooled with the energy being expended trying to preserve the unity of the church and instead concentrated on -- oh let's say Darfur. Or AIDS in Africa. Or childen without health care or senior citizens without medication or the homeless and helpless among us. I think Jesus cares a whole lot more about any one of those things that He does about who gets to go to Lambeth or who gets to call themselves "Anglican" this week.

Diocese delegates consider alternate leader
By Terry Lee Goodrich
Star-Telegram Staff Writer

ARLINGTON -- Delegates in the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth this weekend will consider whether to affirm Fort Worth Bishop Jack Iker's appeal to give local Episcopal churches separate leadership from Katharine Jefferts Schori, who became the denomination's national leader this month.

About 250 clergy and lay delegates are expected to attend the diocese convention Friday and Saturday at St. Peter and St. Paul Episcopal Church in Arlington. The Fort Worth diocese has about 20,000 members.

Iker and six other American bishops have appealed to Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, leader of world Anglicanism, to provide an alternative to Schori, who supports gay relationships, diocese spokeswoman Suzanne Gill said. Those who have appealed the leadership reject same-sex unions as incompatible with Scripture.

The Episcopal Church, which has 111 dioceses, represents Anglicanism in the United States, Haiti, Ecuador, Puerto Rico and elsewhere.

Iker leads one of three U.S. dioceses that also prohibit female bishops and priests as a violation of biblical and church traditions.

The archbishop has proposed two tiers within the church -- "constituent" and "associate" members -- to allow for differing views on scriptural interpretation about homosexuality and other issues. Associate members would not vote on church doctrine and practice, Gill said.
Other resolutions to be considered by delegates state:

That a "broken communion" exists within the Episcopal Church; and that the Fort Worth diocese should ratify the July decision by the diocese's standing committee to disassociate from Episcopal Province 7 in the Southwest, one of nine U.S. provinces. The resolution states that the diocese wants to remain a part of the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion and to be a constituent or voting member if two tiers are established.

The proposed resolution also asks that the diocese be associated with a new 10th province sharing faith and practice rather than geographic boundaries.

That while a minority of parishes, missions and lay people in the diocese do not share Iker's views, they should be recognized by others in the diocese.

"Even though we disagree on these issues, we believe it is possible to live together in love while working for reconciliation to which we are called by Christ," the resolution reads.

That a diocese commission be appointed to develop a "listening process" between parishes, gays and lesbians and those who study sexuality.

The Rev. Frank B. Reeves of St. Martin-in-the-Fields Episcopal Church in Southlake said he is one of seven clergy members in the diocese who question Iker's actions. Reeves criticized the proposal to withdraw from Province 7. "It's like saying, 'We're the Episcopal church, but we don't like it.' It's a strange game," he said.

He also said the resolution supporting alternative leadership to Schori amounts to rubber-stamping the appeal Iker made to the archbishop after Schori was elected presiding bishop in June.

Meanwhile, the Rev. Christopher Cantrell of the Church of the Holy Apostles in Fort Worth said the resolution recognizing the minority doesn't seem to be needed.

"No one is contesting that a minority exists," he said.

Cantrell said the resolution seeking a "listening process" commission is unnecessary because Anglican bishops have for many years urged parishes to communicate with and minister to homosexuals.

"The resolution asks that be done in a formal way, and I don't see how that would be all that helpful," Cantrell said. "It seems to me that would have only one outcome: advocating support for blessing same-sex unions."

Nationwide, the Episcopal church has about 2.3 million members.; click on Information Package 2


Sioux said...

We support Bishop Iker completely. It's time, in fact, that we leave TEC and become Anglican in name as well as practice. It is truly sinful how far TEC has strayed from biblical teachings and from Christian tradition.

Jeanette said...


What happens to indiiduals who are caught in between? IF the diocese is no longer affiliating with TEC, and another Diocese is too far away who provides for them? Is there such a thing as a DEPO process for those individuals? I'm think in particular of individuals in the San Joaquin region where I come from originally, where the closest alternative Diocese is more than 200 miles away in either direction.

Curious to know.

Ann said...

Dear Sioux - it is impossible for Fort Worth leave the Episcopal Church - dioceses are a creation of General Convention and only General Convention can disband them. If you leave a new bishop will be appointed or Fort Worth will be merged with some neighboring diocese. There is no Provine X, to be Anglican in the US you must stick with us. People can leave the Episcopal Church but dioceses cannot. btw - love the pix of you with your cat.

revsusan said...

Jeanette, In San Joaquin I the best hope is to contact Remain Episcopal ...

... and build common cause with others seeking to remain faithful to the Gopsel and to the doctrine and discipline of the Episcopal Church.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...


Perhaps one of the outstanding legacies of Jack Iker will be a grossly uninformed, if not misinformed, people - clergy and laity.

Ann has it right: The Episcopal Diocese of Ft. Worth can not leave The Episcopal Church.

Iker and Cantrell and Reed and you and anyone else who wishes, can.

But, the Diocese of Ft. Worth will remain the Diocese of Ft. Worth until General Convention says it no longer exists.

From your picture icon, one might surmise that you're a cat lover,too.

My experience has been that people who love cats are usuallly much less gulible than that.


Hiram said...

I am not a lawyer, but I suspect that whether or not a diocese can leave ECUSA may depend more on its articles of incorporation than on General Convention authorizing its existence.

The issue will be settled, unless there is a decision to pursue an amicable separation, by the civil courts, and those courts look at property law for the particular state involved. The nature of the religious body does enter in (a congregational form of government or an hierarchical form), but it is not the last word -- and dioceses are different than individual parishes.

These are very interesting times, indeed.