"The Preachers chiefly shall take heed that they teach nothing in their preaching, which they would have the people religiously to observe and believe, but that which is agreeable to the Doctrine of the Old Testament and the New, and that which the Catholick Fathers and Ancient Bishops have gathered out of that Doctrine." A proposed canon of Elizabeth I, 1571

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Location: Bedford, Texas, United States

I am a presbyter in the diocese of Fort Worth, Texas (Anglican Church in North America). I serve as Chaplain at St. Vincent's School and as a canon of St. Vincent's Cathedral Church in Bedford, Texas. In addition to my parish duties and teaching Religion classes in the school I am also the Middle School Social Studies teacher.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

More from the Diocese of Fort Worth

A Letter from the Standing Committee of the diocese of Fort Worth on the proposed Resolution before Diocesan Convention: “Withdrawing Consent for Membership in Province VII”:

A state of “Broken Communion” exists within the Episcopal Church of the United States of America (ECUSA). It is no longer “business as usual.”

Even within Province VII, of which we are at present a member, the historic faith of the Church is no longer shared by its member dioceses. The previous Bishop of Kansas authorized same-sex unions in his diocese. The current Bishop of Arkansas announced just last week that he is now allowing same-sex blessings. The Diocese of Texas has elected a woman as bishop. The Lay and Clergy Deputations of Northwest Texas, the Bishop of Oklahoma, the Bishops and Lay Deputations of Kansas and Western Missouri, and the Bishop and Clergy Deputation of Arkansas all voted in favor of giving consent to Gene Robinson’s election as Bishop of New Hampshire. Bishop Wantland, our own Assisting Bishop and a retired Bishop in good standing, has not been allowed to function sacramentally in the Diocese of Oklahoma by Bishop Moody who, together with Bishop Wolfe of Kansas, has filed presentment charges against Bishop Cox, the retired Suffragan Bishop of Oklahoma, for ordaining men for another Province of the Communion. It is not “business as usual.”

Because of this state of “broken Communion” within Province VII, we are asking Diocesan Convention to withdraw its consent to be part of this Province. Provinces in the Episcopal Church, not to be confused with Provinces of the Anglican Communion, are voluntary associations of Dioceses.

The role of a Province in the Episcopal Church and its limitations are outlined in Title I.9.8 of the Canons of the Episcopal Church. Membership in a Province, as defined in this Canon, is subject to the provision in Article VII of the Constitution of the Episcopal Church, which states that Dioceses voluntarily consent to be part of a geographical province within The Episcopal Church: Article VII states “that no Diocese shall be included in a Province without its own consent.” (Constitution and Canons, p. 7)

The current structure of the nine provinces in the Episcopal Church is based primarily on geographic proximity. To withdraw from Province VII or any other geographic province would have no effect on our standing in The Episcopal Church, or in the Anglican Communion. Like the Diocese of Pittsburgh, it is our hope that we can associate with a tenth Province based on a shared faith rather than mere geographic proximity. The Anglican Communion Network has been functioning the last three years as a Province within The Episcopal Church, and we believe our Provincial relationships will be best served by our association with the Network.

We also desire to send a message to both the Anglican Communion and The Episcopal Church that it is our desire to remain a “constituent member” of the Communion, should The Episcopal Church continue to “walk apart.” Withdrawing our consent for membership in Province VII will provide the Anglican Communion with further evidence that we, as a Diocese, do not desire to “walk apart.”

For all these reasons, we ask the lay delegates and clergy of the Diocese to prayerfully consider this resolution presented by your Standing Committee. Members of the Committee will be present at each of the Pre-Convention Deanery Meetings to discuss the resolution and its impact on the Diocese of Fort Worth.

The Very Rev. Ryan S. Reed
President of the Standing Committee


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