From Via Media:
...In accepting the invitation to speak in Fort Worth, Anderson stated, “I welcome this opportunity to be in the diocese to meet with those in the diocese who love the Episcopal Church and support God's ministry of reconciliation and healing in a troubled world. The leadership of the Episcopal Church has been paying close attention to the events in the Diocese of Fort Worth and will continue to work with and support faithful Episcopalians. I look forward to renewing acquaintances and meeting others who want to live out their baptismal vows of proclaiming the Good News, seeking Jesus Christ in all persons and striving for justice and peace.”As you might imagine, Jack Iker, Bishop of Fort Worth, was not pleased:
This visit by Mrs. Anderson was arranged without any prior consultation with me or any of the other elected leaders of this diocese. I consider it a breach of protocol and a violation of the basic polity of The Episcopal Church. It is a clear effort on her part to recognize and empower a small group of people who dissent from the stated theological positions of this diocese and who claim that they alone are the true ‘loyal Episcopalians‘ here in Fort Worth.For the record, Fort Worth Via Media issued Bp. Iker an invitation to this forum. As a matter of fact, his communications representative, Suzanne Gill, was present.
This visit by Mrs. Anderson further exacerbates an already tense, adversarial relationship that has developed between national leaders and diocesan officials. Unfortunately, she has sought to further divide the people of this diocese rather than to promote reconciliation. I regret that Mrs. Anderson has chosen to fan the flames of division and to advocate a rather one-sided view of the controversies that have overtaken The Episcopal Church in recent decades. Rather than working with me and other diocesan officials, she has chosen to go around us in a blatant attempt to work with the revisionist opposition known as the Via Media.
“I regard her visit as part of a concerted effort to undermine the existing diocesan leadership in favor of those who support the liberal agenda of the General Convention Church. It is disconcerting to see this deepened alienation fostered by one of the top leaders of The Episcopal Church. However, we will not be deterred or side-tracked from our Gospel mission by this kind of political manipulation.
Regarding Bp. Iker's angry letter, I like Andrew's version much better. It is in reference to Abp. Akinola's visit to Wheaton College, scheduled for September 23. It begins like this:
This visit by Archbishop Akinola was arranged without any prior consultation with the Bishop of Chicago or any of the other elected leaders of that diocese. I consider it a breach of protocol and a violation of the basic polity of The Episcopal Church. It is a clear effort on his part to recognize and empower a small group of people who dissent from the stated theological positions of that diocese and who claim that they alone are the true ‘loyal Anglicans' in our sister Diocese of Chicago...And, as you might imagine, ends like this:
...I regard his visit as part of a concerted effort to undermine the existing Episcopal leadership in favor of those who support the reactionary agenda of these groups. It is disconcerting to see this deepened alienation fostered by one of the top leaders of The Anglican Communion. However, I am sure I join with my brother bishop in assuring that we will not be deterred or side-tracked from our Gospel mission by this kind of political manipulation.
Let us not forget those faithful Episcopalians in Fort Worth. They need our support, especially right now. Their bishop has recently declared that "the realignment moves forward."
To clarify the terminology for those who might not be keeping up with the latest Anglican trends, "realignment" is the new fancy term for a very old and sad idea, commonly known as "schism."
Pray for the Diocese of Fort Worth. Pray for the Church.
UPDATE: Katie Sherrod, one of the speakers at this forum, offers us a preliminary report, including the letter inviting Bp. Iker that was sent on July 17. The letter sought to inform the bishop very early in the planning process, and requested diocesan publicity of the event. The diocese refused to provide any publicity. Instead, the bishop released his attempt at parody on the day of the event; over 50 days after he was informed about it.