"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.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Bishop Iker--"We stand with the Primates"

Bishop Gerard Mpango and his wife, Margaret, of the diocese of Western Tanganyika, Tanzania, joined Bishop Iker at our diocesan offices on Tuesday for the Holy Eucharist. Bishop Mpango recently served as the chaplain to the Primates at their Dar es Salaam meeting.

Bishop Iker has placed the following statement on our diocesan web site (boldfaced highlights are mine):

Dear Friends in Christ,

I am pleased to note the striking consensus between the reaffirmations in the Communiqué issued by the Primates of the Anglican Communion at their February meeting in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, and the deliberations and decisions of our Diocesan Conventions over the past several years.

1. The Communiqué reaffirms that the 1998 Lambeth Resolution 1:10 is the standard teaching of the Christian Church on human sexuality. It restates the traditional teaching of the church that “in the view of the teaching of Scripture, [the Conference] upholds faithfulness in marriage between a man and a woman in lifelong union, and believes that abstinence is right for those who are not called to marriage.” Our Convention affirmed Resolution 1.10 in 1998 and again in 2006.

2. The 2004 Windsor Report called upon the Episcopal Church to adopt moratoria on the blessing of same-sex unions and the consecration of any bishop living in a same-sex relationship. Our Convention affirmed these recommendations in November of that year. Now, because the 2006 General Convention failed to do so, the Communiqué asks the House of Bishops to adopt these moratoria in clear, unequivocal language by Sept. 30, 2007. This is again fully consistent with the resolutions of our Conventions. Like the Primates, our diocese sees compliance with the Windsor Report as the way forward in healing and reconciliation in the Communion.

3. Our Convention of 2006 appealed to the Primates for some form of Alternative Primatial Oversight, and in their Communiqué the Primates have responded with plans to establish a Pastoral Council that will oversee the ministry of a Primatial Vicar, who will in effect act as the Presiding Bishop for those who are unable to accept the ministry of Katharine Jefferts Schori. The Primates have affirmed the need we expressed.

In addition to the above, the 2005 Primates Meeting established a Panel of Reference to deal with controversies concerning “congregations in serious dispute and unwilling to accept the episcopal ministry of their bishop” and “dioceses in serious dispute with their provinces.” Our Diocese appealed to the Panel over the 1997 canonical amendments by the General Convention that made the ordination of women priests and bishops mandatory in the Episcopal Church. In December 2006, the Panel issued recommendations in our favor and declared that:

1. “while the Communion is in a process of reception, no diocese or parish should be compelled to accept the ministry of word or sacrament from an ordained woman.”

2. “The Archbishop of Canterbury, the Presiding Bishop and the other Primates of the Anglican Communion should publicly commend the adequacy of the Dallas Plan.”

3. “theological views on the ordination or consecration of women should not be a ground on which consent might be withheld” in the election of a bishop opposed to the ordination of women.

Where does all of this place us as a Diocese in our relationship with the rest of the Anglican Communion? In the eyes of the Primates, clearly we are a mainstream Anglican, orthodox diocese that stands shoulder to shoulder with them in witness to the authority of Holy Scripture and the Lordship of our only Savior, Jesus Christ. Last fall The Episcopal Church’s Executive Council tagged us a “problem diocese.” But instead The Episcopal Church has now been recognized as a “problem province.”

The Rt. Rev. Jack Leo Iker
Bishop of Fort Worth
Lent 2007


Blogger Sioux said...

Wonderful letter from Bishop Iker!

We were fortunate enough to meet Bishop and Mrs. Mpango as we were at the Eucharist that day at the diocesan center.

I am so glad I have found your blog!

4:25 PM  
Blogger texanglican said...

Welcome, Sioux, to the blog. I wish I could have joined you all at the diocesan center for the Eucharist. I am sure that Bishop Mpango and his wife are fine people to know.

4:51 PM  

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