"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.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Bishop Iker on the Radio

Today an excellent interview with the Rt Rev. Jack Leo Iker, bishop of Fort Worth, was broadcast on Public Radio. It may be heard here, along with an interview with Katharine Jefferts Schori, presiding bishop-elect. (Hat tip to the Common Anglican.)

Russian Orthodox Renew Ties With APO Dioceses

The Russian Orthodox Church, which broke ties with ECUSA following the consecration of Gene Robinson as bishop of New Hampshire in 2003, has offered to resume relations with the eight dioceses that have requested alternative primatial oversight. As Metropolitan Kirill writes to Bishop Duncan, moderator of the Network, “The Russian Orthodox Church supports your act and expresses willingness to restore relations with your diocese.” See the full text of the diocese of Pittsburgh news story here.

Monday, October 30, 2006

And to think, I was beginning to believe that Katharine Jefferts Schori might take the high road ...

From The Living Church:

On the eve of Nevada Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori’s investiture as the 26th Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church, her chancellor, David Booth Beers, has written identical letters to the chancellors of two traditionalist dioceses demanding that they change language “that can be read as cutting against an ‘unqualified accession’ to the Constitution and Canons of the General Convention of The Episcopal Church.

“The timing of this letter is shocking,” Fort Worth Bishop Jack L. Iker told The Living Church. “Some of the changes he refers to go back as far as 1989. All this was done completely out in the open and news of it was distributed widely. We have kept the Presiding Bishop informed at every step.

“We are still contemplating our response, but I think we will refuse to take the ‘bait’ by responding in kind,” Bishop Iker said. “We will probably refer him to our website where our constitution and canons are published.”

In recent years, four dioceses – Fort Worth (Texas), Pittsburgh, Quincy (Ill.) and San Joaquin (Calif.) – have amended their constitutions to qualify the diocese’s accession to General Convention, reserving the right of the diocese to reject bylaws which in their view contradict scripture and/or historic church teachings. Spokespersons for Pittsburgh and San Joaquin reported being unaware of receiving a similar letter. Fort Worth, Quincy and San Joaquin are the only three dioceses in The Episcopal Church which do not ordain women.

Mr. Beers concludes his letter stating “should your diocese decline to take that step, the Presiding Bishop will have to consider what sort of action she must take in order to bring your diocese into compliance.”

Bishop Iker questioned whether this was possible given that in September, Bishop Jefferts Schori told him to his face at a special meeting in New York City called by the Archbishop of Canterbury that the Presiding Bishop has no jurisdiction or oversight of dioceses under Episcopal Church polity. Also during September, a disciplinary review board rejected holding San Joaquin Bishop John-David Schofield guilty of abandoning the communion of this church for similar changes made to its constitution by convention in that diocese.

Steve Waring

And this note, apparently from Bishop Iker on Stand Firm, says some interesting things about the timing of this letter in connection with Schori's meeting with ABC.

I Wish I Were Tech-Savvy Enough to Put This at the Top of the Blog

"Anglo-Catholicism: Scripture and Reason within Catholic Tradition, challenging the Modern World"

Thanks to the Common Anglican.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Bishop Wantland Speaks to VOL

David Virtue has published an interview with the Rt. Rev. William Wantland, retired bishop of Eau Claire and present assisting bishop of Fort Worth. Bishop Wantland is a well-regarded canon lawyer and orthodox churchman, so this interview is well worth reading. Two highlights:

"Simply put, orthodox Episcopalians no longer have a place at the table of the ECUSA, their day is done and separation is the only way forward and the whole communion knows it." As a result of GC2006 there are now eight dioceses asking for APO and that is going to happen. Make no mistake about it. It's a done deal, he told VOL. ...

Griswold keeps saying that the ABC doesn't have any right to interfere in any part of the Anglican Communion and in individual dioceses, but it will happen. The African archbishops at Kigali set the wheels in motion by setting up a steering committee. The ship has set sail. The Primates Committee meet in February 2007 in Tanzania and unless matters are resolved between now and then, there will be a primate appointed for the eight American dioceses, at that time it will all come unraveled for The Episcopal Church.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Is APO Really Coming in Early 2007? The Signs Say "Yes"!

From The Living Church (The Rev.) George Conger10/26/2006

The primates of four provinces in the Anglican Communion have offered to meet in November with the bishops, chancellors and standing committee presidents from the eight Episcopal dioceses that petitioned Archbishop Rowan Williams last July for alternative primatial oversight.

The Most Rev. Peter Akinola, Primate of Nigeria; the Most Rev. Drexel Gomez, Primate of the West Indies; the Most Rev. Benjamin Nzimbi, Primate of Kenya; and the Most Rev. Justice Akrofi, Primate of West Africa, have told the seven bishops and eight dioceses that the Nov. 15 meeting, to be held at The Falls Church in Falls Church, Va., will not preempt whatever is decided at the Feb. 14-19 primates’ meeting in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. Instead, the November meeting is intended to allow the American dioceses to express their needs directly to Global South leaders.

The four primates will be in Falls Church to attend the meeting of the trustees of Anglican Relief and Development Fund (ARDF), an organization chartered by the Anglican Communion Network in 2004 to support the Church in the developing world. Canon Nancy Norton, executive director of ARDF, said the fund’s trustees will meet from Nov. 13-15 at The Falls Church to approve projects and review the work of the past year. All four primates serve as ARDF trustees.

Bishop Duncan's Address at Nashotah House

Bishop Robert Duncan of Pittsburgh's address on "The Future of Anglicanism" delivered at Nashotah House (where he received an honorary degree yesterday) is available here. One highlight:

We have reached the moment where a mediation to achieve disengagement is the only way forward. I believe that the other Episcopal Church – the one not represented in this convocation [at Nashotah House] – has finally also come to that conclusion, as well. I believe that a mediated settlement will be in place by this time next year, or that the principals will be well on their way to such a settlement. How can we set one another free to proclaim the gospel (the Truth) as we, so differently, understand it? How can we bless one another as cousins, rather than oppress one another as brothers? The day for a serious and wide-ranging mediation has arrived. This will have an immense impact on the present and the future of Anglicanism, and it cannot come too soon.

Resume Tex: From the good bishop's lips to God's ears!

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Dallas Shocker: Bishop Stanton Clearly Wants to Stay Inside TEC

You can pretty much disregard my last two posts. I thought the resolution and survey results that I cited below were evidence that Dallas was preparing to break with TEC in the foreseeable future. It now appears, based upon the Bishop's address to their convention, that Bishop Stanton is committed to staying inside the Episcopal church for a good deal longer. "Just keep you heads down and ignore what goes on elsewhere in TEC--focus on the purely local and try to stay faithful within your parish context" is Stanton's message to his flock. Here is a highlight:

Let me be blunt. Separation is not a strategy. Where would we go? And what would be the result of a departure? I believe that separation would only increase the tensions within the Anglican Communion and make a vital, robust Covenant process that much more difficult! And how would the world outside look at yet more division in the Body of Christ? This is precisely what they have come to expect of Christians – groups fighting with each other. Our Lord prayed that we might be one in order that the world might see our unity as a sign of God’s blessing and work. (John 17) Those who are contemplating departing the church are not, I think, fulfilling Christ's call but are fulfilling the expectations the world has about the church, that we cannot really get along, even with each other.

We have a future only if we are clear-sighted and clearly committed. Some people feel so upset by what they perceive to be going on outside or above us, especially at the General Church level, that they are ready to depart. I ask you to reconsider. If, as our Thirty-nine Articles say, the Church is where the "pure Word of God is preached and the Sacraments be duly administered," or as we might say, where Christ is honored and the Apostles' teaching forms the core, where the Sacraments indeed bring strength for ministry and comfort for those in need, then why should anyone depart?

Judge for yourselves in the place you worship and serve and grow in your faith. If together in your parish or mission you are worshipping and serving the living God, what compels you to go? If together with other such congregations in this Diocesan family you serve the Risen Christ, and believe with them in his power to transform not only your own life, but the world, why must you leave?

If, finally, our vision for the future has been inspired by the challenge and hope of being an Anglican, a part of a vibrant and robust and orthodox community of dioceses and men and women around the world, what is the value of separation?
Let us be clear: Christ is at the heart of our ministry as a Diocesan Family. We have been firm. We will continue to be firm. And we have been blessed, up to now. We have a greater chance of getting to our destination - and to do that as faithful inheritors of the Apostles' faith - if we stay together!

Resume Tex: This is not what I had expected from the bishop whom Bishop Iker selected to accompany him to the NYC meeting last month. He had seemed to be one of the more "forward" Network bishops until this message. Needless to say, I am very disappointed.

Opinions on GenCon06 in the Diocese of Dallas

In his report to their recent diocesan convention on their just-concluded on-line "listening process" Bishop Stanton of Dallas announced some very interesting findings. Among these is the following:

In the Online Survey [of congregational leaders], 30% of the leaders of our congregations said they favored removal of the name “Episcopal” from their signs, letterheads, and literature. This matter was brought up in some discussions, but not many. I would not have guessed that this action, certainly a form of disassociation, would have been supported by so many. But I hasten to add that it is not possible to conclude that all of these would favor “leaving” the Episcopal Church even so. In that same survey, about half of all respondents declared their preference for realigning with the Anglican Communion. Only a third said they would prefer to remain with the Episcopal Church. About 15% were unsure.

My impression is that congregational leaders in the diocese of Fort Worth, while not unanimous in their opinions, are more united in defense of orthodoxy than the leaders of Dallas. I suspect that 75% or more of our congregational leaders would favor "realigning with the Anglican Communion" rather than remaining within the Episcopal church any longer. Only a handful of Fort Worth's parishes, I believe, would strongly oppose a move out of TEC into a new, orthodox provincial structure that is in full communion with the majority of the world's Anglicans. Of course, without a similar survey that is only a guess on my part. Our diocesan convention in a couple of weeks ought to make the feelings of the diocese clear. Some big news may come out of it!

The Diocese of Dallas Lays the Groundwork

In a series of moves that I hope will be a model for Fort Worth's own convention in a few weeks, the diocese of Dallas has laid the ground work to take action as the "realignment" of the Anglican Communion accelerates following the upcoming Primates meeting. You can read the ENS story about Dallas' convention here.

Among the most important moves taken by the Dallas diocesan convention last weekend was a resolution to:

qualify the diocese's required constitutional accession to the Episcopal Church's General Convention and Constitution and Canons "expressly premised on the Episcopal Church in the United States of America being and at all times remaining a full, constituent member of the Anglican Communion," to state that the accession as stated can be "revoked, limited or otherwise amended" by the annual or special convention of the diocese, and to state that the amended accession can in "no way be deemed to prevent or limit this Diocese from disassociating itself from any actions of the General Convention by concurrent majority vote of both orders at any Annual or Special Convention".

Monday, October 23, 2006

Save This Date in Early June!

On the second of June in 2007 the Canon Theologian of the diocese of Fort Worth, the Rev. Dr. John Heidt, will celebrate the jubilee of his ordination to the priesthood of Christ's one, holy, Catholic and apostolic Church.

In conjunction with this happy event, St. Vincent's Cathedral Church will host a major colloquium of scholars and churchmen. I urge you not to miss it. Find out more here. The list of speakers and preachers comprises a "Who's Who" of Anglo-Catholicism on both sides of the Atlantic. Prof. Peter Kreeft of Boston College, a noted Roman Catholic thinker and apologist, will be our key note speaker. Everybody come on down to Texas on June 1st and 2nd! We'll worship the Living God in holiness, wrestle with serious questions, honor a faithful servant of Christ and His Church, and generally have a grand ole' time. And its only $50 for the whole enchilada!

Saturday, October 21, 2006

A Preview of Things to Come in Fort Worth?

Townsend Waddill reports on the Synod of the Diocese of Quincy, a diocese with many of the same theological commitments as the my own. It is noteworthy that they have apparently been able to defeat efforts to "water down" orthodox statements and resolutions with relative ease, boding well for the future. (We'll have to wait to for the final Here is Waddill's report:

Notes from Quincy Synod, Day One

The first day of the Synod of the Diocese of Quincy has truly been a remarkable and holy occasion, especially for someone coming from the Diocese of Florida, where every convention is a dog fight.

I, as I mentioned earlier on Titusonenine, arrived late due to some things I had to take care of at Nashotah, but when I arrived, the synod was voting on the resolutions and doing so with relative ease. There were two resolutions of note: The first was a resolution (apparently a continuation from a prior convention) that was a withdrawal of the Diocese of Quincy from Province V. It passed with relatively little fireworks. The second was a resolution commending the Kigali Communique of the Global South Primates’ Meeting, which included a clause to begin steps toward the formation of what will be hopefully be recognized as a separate ecclesiastical structure of the Anglican Communion in the USA. A group stood up to amend the resolution to water down the language, but the amendment was defeated soundly. The resolution appeared to pass fairly strongly among those who were still in the Synod hall near 5:00 this afternoon. However, since some of the clergy and lay delegates left to sing in the choir, the porters were to collect their votes as well and the vote will be announced in the morning. I will report the final tally tomorrow, but I believe the resolution will pass. The text of the second resolution (2006-RM-7) is at the end of this report. ...

Text of Resolution 2006-RM-7:

Resolution 2006-RM-7
Regarding the Kigali Communiqué, APO, and the Creation of a New American Province

RESOLVED that this 129th Synod of the Diocese of Quincy, gathered at St. Paul’s Cathedral, October 20, 2006, receives with sincere gratitude the Communiqué issued September 22, 2006, by the Global South gathering in Kigali, Rwanda, with thanks for their leadership and pastoral concern. In particular, we welcome and endorse these recommendations from the Communiqué which directly relate to our present situation as a Diocese:

1. That the Global South Steering Committee meet with the leadership of the dioceses requesting Alternative Primatial Oversight, in consultation with the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Network and the ‘Windsor Dioceses’, to develop a proposal identifying the ways which the requested Primatial oversight can be adequately provided [paragraph 10.a].
2. That at the meeting of the Primates in February, 2007, a bishop chosen by the Network dioceses be invited to participate fully so that the Primates may listen to the voice of our dioceses during their deliberations [paragraph 10.b].
3. That steps begin towards the formation of what will be recognized as a separate ecclesiastical structure of the Anglican Communion in the USA [paragraph 10.c].

And be it further,

RESOLVED that the Diocese of Quincy reaffirms the commitment made by our 126th Synod (2003 Resolution RM-3-D), to move forward with the realignment of the Communion in order to preserve a faithful, orthodox Anglican Province within the United States, working together with all bishops, dioceses, congregations, and Provinces of the Anglican Communion who uphold the primacy and authority of Holy Scripture and the historic faith and order of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Nietzsche Family Circus

This is just too amusing not to pass along: stop by "Nietzsche Family Circus" and view images from the classic comic strip randomly paired with quotations from the famous philosopher. Just hit "refresh" immediately to the right of the image to view a another comic/aphorism pairing.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Sunset in North Texas, October 7th

"Now as we come to the setting of the sun,
and our eyes behold the vesper light,
we sing thy praises, O God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit."

R.D. Foster, my father, took this picture tonight at Chisholm Park in Hurst, Texas.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

St. Francis' Feast at St. Vincent's School


Today we had the annual blessing of the pets at St. Vincent's School.

Dean Reed blessed his fair share of dogs and cats ...

While Father John Jordan receives the prize for the largest animal blessed--Nemo the Horse!

Everyone got into the act, from pre-school to high school.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Fort Worth welcomes Global South Communiqué

The Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth welcomes the Kigali Communiqué issued by the Primates of the Global South on September 22, 2006, and expresses our sincere gratitude for their courageous leadership and pastoral concern. We are encouraged by their recognition and endorsement of the faithful witness of the Anglican Communion Network, and we look forward to working with them in finding a solution for the need of Alternative Primatial Oversight for several of our dioceses.

We share the concerns they have expressed about the Presiding Bishop-elect, and we endorse their proposal that another bishop be chosen to attend the Primates Meeting in February in order to represent those dioceses and congregations who are abiding by the teaching of the Communion.

By a margin of 83 percent in both the clerical and lay orders, the Annual Convention of this Diocese went on record on November 8, 2003, with the adoption of the following resolution:

“We declare our commitment to work with those Bishops, Dioceses, and congregations, and those Primates and Provinces that will now move forward with a realignment of the Anglican Communion; we reaffirm the authority of Holy Scripture and our intention to continue faithfully to uphold and propagate the historic Faith and Order of the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church under the sovereignty of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”

With faith and hope for the future of the Anglican Communion, we renew this commitment and affirmation at this time.

The Rt. Rev. Jack Leo Iker
Bishop of Fort Worth
October 2, 2006

Sunday, October 01, 2006

St. Laurence Christology Class Continues

I have been enjoying teaching my class on early Christology at St. Laurence Church (Southlake, Texas). Attendance continues to be strong and the questions asked well-informed and interesting. Today we discussed Arianism and the Council of Nicaea. Next week we will read selections from Athanasius' "On the Incarnation of the Word", then move into the Christological controversy of the fifth century. I hope to conclude our discussion of the third ecumenical Council at Ephesus before next week's class ends, but that would probably take more self-discipline than I possess. (I do tend to digress.)

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