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