Monday, April 28, 2008

Faithful Episcopalians in Fort Worth Prepare for the Future

In November 2007, the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth approved canonical changes in preparation for their announced plans to abandon the Episcopal Church. Bp. Iker has been quite outspoken about his intentions to lead Fort Worth out of communion with this Church, as can be seen in this quote from October 2007:

"There are three Forward in Faith dioceses in the United States, and the three bishops of those dioceses have come to a common conclusion that we have no future in the Episcopal Church," Iker reported to the London meeting. "Our conventions in those three dioceses, Fort Worth, Quincy, and San Joaquin, will be taking constitutional action to separate officially from TEC. Because it is a constitutional change, it must be passed at two successive annual conventions."

On the recording, Iker continued: "…Our plan is not only to disassociate, then, from the Episcopal Church, but to officially, constitutionally re-affiliate with an existing orthodox province of the communion that does not ordain women to the priesthood. These conversations are very far along but cannot be announced until the province that is considering our appeal has made their final decision public."
That "orthodox" province was later identified as the Southern Cone, the same Province that has made the unethical and illegal claim to other congregations in the US and Canada, as well as the Diocese of San Joaquin.

However, it appears Bp. Iker may be having second thoughts about that affiliation. In a report on a recent presentation by Bp. Iker to the people of All Saints, Fort Worth, Katie Sherrod notes this curious statement by the Bishop:

...He said that if the diocese “leaves” it will still be the “Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth," but he also cautioned folks not to “get caught up in the invitation from the Southern Cone. We may not align with the Southern Cone. We asked if we could align with them as a ‘safe harbor,’ just as Fr. Jambor has asked me about a safe harbor for All Saints. I have been in recent communication with the Presiding Bishop and with Rowan. Rowan does have extra-provincial dioceses”...
Regardless of what Bp. Iker has in mind, it seems clear that by November 2008, Bp. Iker, and those who choose to go with him, will be abandoning the Episcopal Church. His statement that they will leave yet still be the "Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth" is nonsensical. We've been there already with the former Bishop of San Joaquin. Such double talk is meaningless.

Faitful Episcopalians are preparing for what appears to be inevitable. From Katie Sherrod:

The Steering Committee North Texas Episcopalians has been formed to assist those who wish to remain Episcopalians if Bishop Jack Iker tries to achieve his publicly stated goal of taking the diocese out of The Episcopal Church [TEC] and aligning it with another province of the Anglican Communion.

It is these Episcopalians who will, with the help of the leadership of The Episcopal Church, reconstitute the diocese after the bishop leaves TEC...

...Primary among these has been the already-existing Fort Worth Via Media. It has been joined by daughter organizations North Texans Remain Episcopal in the northern part of the diocese and Remain Episcopal of Granbury in the southwestern part of the diocese as well as by a group in the mid-cities area and a group of diocesan clergy. Another recently formed group is Steadfast Episcopalians, organized explicitly to reach out to conservative Episcopalians. There were also individuals representing almost all parishes and missions who had self-identified as wishing to remain Episcopalian...

...According to Komechak, "The primary objectives of this combined group are to remain in the Episcopal Church and to continue the work of the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth as a constituent part of the Episcopal Church. This umbrella organization has been officially recognized as a Texas nonprofit corporation by the Secretary of State. Bylaws have been adopted and a Statement of Mission and Beliefs has been developed for release to the public. Identifying additional persons in diocesan parishes and missions who support staying in the Episcopal Church is one of the Steering Committee’s first items of business. "

People who will remain Episcopalians can send information to Steering Committee North Texas Episcopalians, P.O.Box 100846, Fort Worth, TX, 76185-0846. A web site is under construction.

Media: For more information, contact:

Walter Cabe
817.563.1033 [office]
Pray for the Diocese of Fort Worth.

Pray for the Church.


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