Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Bp. Iker of Fort Worth Feels Threatened

Bp. Iker has sent out a message to the clergy and convention delegates of the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth. Here's part of it:

...I HAVE RECEIVED A SECOND THREATENING LETTER from the Presiding Bishop, Katharine Jefferts Schori. Interestingly enough, it arrived on the same day as the meeting convened by Bishop Hulsey. As you will recall, in a much-publicized letter in November the PB had threatened me with disciplinary charges of “abandonment of the communion of this church” if I permitted the Diocesan Convention to vote on the proposed constitutional revisions that were put before us. This time she threatens me with charges of a violation of my ordination vows if I continue “any encouragement of such a belief” that parishes and dioceses can leave The Episcopal Church. Well, so much for an invitation to dialogue and conversation! It’s all about threats of dire consequences if you don’t comply with the party line...
Here is our Presiding Bishop's "threatening" letter. One particular passage from it is especially worth repeating:

...You state your concern about those who stand by their convictions being threatened with depositions and lawsuits. I would also note that depositions and lawsuits have no substance if there has been no violation. Fear of same is not rational if there is no basis for same...
If Bp. Iker considers this rather tame letter to be a threat, one is inclined to wonder what the substance of his fear might be. Is it simply a case of paranoia, or might he have good reason to be concerned about his own future when his violations are brought into the light?

There is also an interesting reference to a meeting with the Bishop of Dallas:

...BISHOP STANTON OF DALLAS AND I had a very good meeting yesterday at St. Vincent’s, where we discussed how to make provision for any parishes in this Diocese that may choose to remain in TEC if the Diocesan Convention votes to separate from The Episcopal Church. We were joined by our Canons to the Ordinary, the Presidents of our respective Standing Committees, and the Chancellor of the Diocese of Dallas. You will be hearing more about this in due course...
Bp. Iker is continuing his delusion that he can somehow leave the Episcopal Church and take the congregations with him. Consequently, he has it backwards in the above statement. Regardless of any votes by the leadership, all the congregations and the Diocese will remain part of the Episcopal Church. If some of the members of that Diocese choose to join some other Province, of course they are free to do so. But the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth will remain intact. The idea that it will somehow be merged into the Diocese of Dallas, and that Bps. Iker and Stanton have the authority to initiate such a merger, is simply absurd.

"Bizarre" and "absurd" are common descriptive terms used quite often to describe this Bishop and the leadership of Fort Worth. It may be difficult for some Episcopalians to imagine what it is like to be in a Diocese that is as "unusual" as Fort Worth. In future posts, I'll attempt to offer you a couple of stories that might help you picture how strange the situation is there.

Pray for the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth.

Pray for the Church.


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