"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.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Greetings from the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth of the Anglican Province of the Southern Cone of the Americas

It's official! As of the fall of the gavel adjourning the 2008 diocesan convention at 1:28PM CST, the four constitutional changes that brought to an end our diocese's connection to the General Convention of the Episcopal Church of the United States and a resolution admitting us to membership in the Anglican Province of the Southern Cone became effective.

All five of the crucial votes were passed by approximately 80% majorities in both the clergy and lay delegations (plus or minus less than three percentage points each).

The meeting was polite and business-like, with no rancor. The bishop gave a good, clear address that no one could accuse of being harsh toward those who disagree with us. Thankfully the opponents of our move to the Southern Cone decided to have a single, twenty minute long statement read aloud opposing the actions of our convention instead of insisting on extended comments from the floor with respect to each of the individual amendments. This courtesy speeded things along nicely.

The only mildly sour note of the day was provided by a small tape recorder left in the visitors' section by some prankster that went off right after the first set of vote totals was announced, playing "Hit the Road, Jack" (an obvious insult to our beloved Bishop Jack Leo Iker, who took the prank with his usual good grace).

A transcript of Bishop Iker's press conference following the convention may be found here.

At the close of the meeting a statement was made available from our leadership intended to be distributed in our parishes on Sunday morning.

Votes on Constitutional amendments (all passing):

A. PREAMBLE--We, the Clergy and Laity of The Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth, do hereby ordain and establish the following constitution as duly amended: (RWF: This change removes any suggested limitation to the geographical scope of the diocese to Texas, just in case others would like to join us later on!)
clergy for: 73 Clergy against: 18
Laity for 101 and against 26

B. Article 1 ANGLICAN IDENTITY--The Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth is a constituent member of the Anglican Communion, a Fellowship within the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church, consisting of those duly constituted Dioceses, Provinces and regional churches in communion with the See of Canterbury, upholding and propagating the historic Faith and Order as set forth in the Old and New Testaments and expressed in the Book of Common Prayer. (RWF: This change removes references to accession to TEC's General Convention.)
clergy for: 72 clergy against: 19
laity for: 102 laity against: 25

Sec. 1 At each Annual Convention there shall be elected priests and an equal number of lay persons canonically resident within the Diocese to serve as deputies or delegates to any extradiocesan conventions, synods or meetings that may occur between Annual Conventions and to which this Diocese may wish to send such deputies or delegates. They shall possess the same qualifications as members of the Standing Committee and shall be elected by a concurrent majority of both orders. Such duly elected deputies or delegates shall hold office until their successors are elected.
Sec. 2 At the same Convention there shall be chosen, in the same manner and with the same qualifications, the same number of priests and lay persons to serve as alternate deputies or delegates.

Sec. 3 The Bishop shall assign the Alternate deputies or delegates to fill any vacancy in the delegation. In case there be no Bishop or he is unable to act, this power shall be exercised by the Standing Committee. (RWF: This change reworded the article so that it applies to any extra-territorial meeting the diocese wishes to attend. It no longer applies to TEC's GenCon, as formerly it did.)
clergy for: 71 clergy against: 19
laity for: 103 laity against: 24

D. Article 18 CANONS--Canons consistent with this Constitution may be adopted, altered, amended, or repealed at any Annual Convention of the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth by a majority vote of the Convention, provided that no new Canon and no alteration, amendment, or repeal of an existing Canon shall be adopted unless the same shall have been filed in writing with the Secretary of the Convention not less than sixty (60) days before the meeting of the Convention. The Secretary shall, not less than forty-five (45) days before the meeting of the Convention, deliver copies of all proposed amendments or alterations to the Canons to the Chairman of the Committee on Constitution and Canons. The Committee shall report thereon to the Convention on the first day of the meeting.

Where any amendment of a Canon has been so proposed and referred to the Committee, amendments thereto may be made from the floor of the Convention if within the judgment of the presiding officer of the Convention such amendments are germane to the pending amendment.

No other amendments or alterations to the Canons shall be considered at that meeting except by unanimous consent of the Convention.

Changes to the existing Canons shall take effect immediately upon the adjournment of Convention. Typographical errors may be corrected by the Committee on Constitution and Canons and reported to the Convention. (RWF: A final bit of legal "tidying up" to remove references to TEC from our diocesan constitution.)
clergy for: 72 clergy against: 19
laity for: 102 laity against: 25

***And here is the resolution joining our diocese to the Anglican Province of the Southern Cone.

Resolution 1:
BE IT RESOLVED, that the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth, meeting in its 26th Annual Convention, does hereby accept the provision made by the Anglican Province of the Southern Cone, and the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth does hereby immediately enter into membership with the Anglican Province of the Southern Cone as a full and equal constituent member of such province, and the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth does hereby accede to the authority of the Constitution and Canons of the Anglican Province of the Southern Cone to the extent such Constitution and Canons are not contrary to Holy Scripture and the teaching of the one holy, catholic and apostolic Church.

Clergy for: 73 Clergy against: 20
laity for: 98 laity against: 28


Blogger Tregonsee said...

Well done!

4:18 PM  
Anonymous Jill C. said...

So happy for ya'll! (And -- forgive me, Lord -- more than a little envious.) Godspeed to you and your bishop as you move on with mission and ministry unencumbered by the chains of TEC. Let us know, after a few weeks, if you feel a burden's been lifted, and more of the joy of the Lord, as has been reported by others.

5:15 PM  
Blogger The young fogey said...

As Jill C. wrote, so happy for y'all.

Historic. With this there are no more Anglo-Catholic dioceses in the Episcopal Church.

6:15 AM  
Anonymous robroy said...

To be honest, "Hit the road, Jack" does have a snappy tune. With the great news that the diocese of Fort Worth is now un-yoked with Ms Schori et al, one can simply laugh at their attempt to rain on Fort Worth's parade. Not even a real Texas gully washer could dampen the spirits in the parade.

It is my understanding that the diocese of Fort Worth has removed geographical boundaries from its defining canons. Perhaps, they might start a mission in Colorado???

6:49 AM  
Anonymous Wannabe Anglican said...

I am so glad we will be in the same province very soon. Thanks be to God!

9:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why anyone would want to follow a man of the cloth who speaks about faith/trust and yet breaks oaths made under God, creating chaos in his wake is beyond me.

It tells me his church is a false one which places him as some sort of demi-god.

It seems to me his two options were to wait out Schori's reign, or leave TEC if he no longer agreed with the Church.

To create the mutiny he has in our diocese speaks to his character as a demonic entity.

8:29 PM  

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