"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.

Friday, December 05, 2008

PB Schori acts swiftly against Bishop Iker, clearing the way for rapid "reorganization" in Fort Worth

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori today announced she was accepting Fort Worth's Bishop Jack Leo Iker's "voluntary renunciation of orders." The problem? Bishop Iker never sent such a letter of renunciation! Instead, PB Schori is treating this statement in his public letter of November 24th as a "renunciation:" "Since November 15, 2008, both the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth and I as the Diocesan Bishop have been members of the Anglican Province of the Southern Cone."

This matters because it is now clear that 815 will move to establish a TEC loyalist "diocese of Fort Worth" far earlier than we once thought they would. I had assumed that once Bishop Iker had been "inhibited" by PB Schori (which happened two weeks ago) he would have the canonical 60 days to recant before the House of Bishops could depose him, which in practice meant that he could only be "deposed"at the upcoming House of Bishops' meeting in March. That would finally clear the way for 815's new "diocese of Fort Worth" to elect a loyalist leadership in late March or April.

But now that the Presiding Bishop has purportedly "accepted his renunciation of orders" the procedural way is cleared for TEC to act to replace Bishop Iker much sooner. PB Schori virtually says as much in her notice today (emphasis added by RWF):

"I have chosen to follow this course rather than seeking consent of the House of Bishops to Bishop Iker's deposition for abandonment of the Communion of this Church because I believe it to be a more pastoral response to Bishop Iker's clear expression of his desire not to be a part of the Episcopal Church at this time," the Presiding Bishop wrote in a letter to the House of Bishops. "I believe this course best expresses my hope and prayer that reconciliation in the future can be achieved by God's love and grace." ...

Jefferts Schori wrote in her letter that "accepting Bishop Iker's voluntary renunciation now rather than waiting for the March meeting of the House [to consider the question of deposition] will do much to alleviate the difficult circumstances facing the Episcopalians in Fort Worth, who are functioning in a Diocese devoid of any formal leadership." She also wrote that "renunciation is a more hospitable avenue of departure from the Church, and therefore increases the hope for reconciliation with Bishop Iker and his followers at some point."

Likewise, the "Steering Committee" that forms the heart of what will soon become the TEC "dioFW" is primed to strike while the iron is hot (emphasis added by RWF):

The Steering Committee North Texas Episcopalians said as much in a statement issued the evening of December 5. "The Presiding Bishop's action saves the Church the expense and distress of formal procedures to depose the former bishop and opens the door for an early reorganization of the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth," the group said, adding that they commended Iker and his wife to the prayers of the "many Episcopalians who opposed Iker's efforts to remove the diocese from the Episcopal Church."

RWF resumes: I had assumed we would have a few months of relative peace and quiet before the property lawsuits were filed here, but now it looks like the time-line has been moved forward quite a bit. I would anticipate the TEC loyalists will have the "TEC diocesan leadership" in Fort Worth they will need to file lawsuits seeking our property before the winter is out now that Bishop Iker has been pushed aside.

I leave it to my readers to assess the reasonableness of PB Schori's assertion that her move today "increases the hope for reconciliation with Bishop Iker and his followers at some point."

May God bring peace to this difficult situation soon.


Blogger An Anglican Cleric said...

The Episcopal Church--stranger than a fiction created by George Orwell.

9:50 PM  
Anonymous Floridian said...

There can NEVER be peace with evil.

We should always be alert, stand firm, expose and oppose and battle evil unrelentingly and not give place to evil.

7:43 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is great news for loyal Episcopalians!

I resent Floridian calling us evil. What is evil is your name calling.

8:17 AM  
Blogger Tregonsee said...

I bet that Kate and her chief advisers Beers, Wormwood, and Screwtape, could find a renunciation of orders in a Christmas card. Or a grocery list.

8:37 AM  
Blogger ejwilson said...

I hope the loyalist dioFW will change its name...Roman Catholic Diocese of Fort Worth, Anglican Diocese of Fort Worth (Southern Cone), Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth (TEC).

9:27 PM  
Anonymous WannabeAnglican said...

How ironic that Mr. Anonymous resents being called names.

8:24 AM  
Blogger Milton said...

Anonymous, Floridian didn't call any PERSON evil. The comment implies we must fight evil as in the forces of evil, "We war not against flesh and blood, but against the principalities and powers, against the forces of wickedness in the heavenlies and against this current world darkness".

Of course, if you wish to align yourself and whatever group constitutes "us" with evil, that is your decision. Examine your heart and test the spirits, whether they will confess that Jesus has come in the flesh, that is, fully human but not merely human, but also all the fulness of Deity dwelling in bodily form.

10:12 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There is plenty of precedent for the Presiding Bishop's action, and she has the full support of the House of Bishops.

Perhaps Mr. Iker should have thought about the consequences when he decided to declare his allegiance to the Southern Cone. That is what is stranger than fiction more than anything else. You cannot serve two masters.

1:22 PM  
Blogger Andy T said...

Anon... yes she has precedent... the precedence of a failed strategy... and am so glad you mentioned serving two masters... I know for a fact my bishop chooses to serve Christ alone. I will follow him. How is that for precedent.

8:29 PM  

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