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.
http://www.fwepiscopal.org/; click on Information Package 2