UPDATED: Rump "Diocese" Finally Sues to Take All of our Property
Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,
The Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth, heir and steward of the legacy of generations of faithful Episcopalians, has this day brought suit to recover that legacy. We deeply regret that the decisions and actions of former diocesan leaders have brought us to this difficult moment.
Even before 1850 when this area was part of the Episcopal Diocese of Texas, faithful Episcopalians were preaching the saving gospel of Jesus Christ as part of the Episcopal Church in North Texas. After the General Convention created our diocese in 1982, that work continued. Today we, with our Presiding Bishop, remain committed to preaching the gospel as we celebrate the sacraments, care for those in need, and strive for justice and peace. This litigation is designed to move quickly to confirm the historical right of Episcopalians to lead the diocese as stewards of its property as we in humility and hope continue the mission of the Episcopal Church here.
Please pray for patience while the legal proceedings go forward. These first steps are crucial in confirming the continuing diocese’s unbroken historic connection with the Episcopal Church and the church property. We will then proceed to deal more directly to recover and restore specific parish property. Be assured, however, both the Presiding Bishop and I are aware of your pain and frustration, as well as being committed to addressing your local concerns thoroughly.
We bid the prayers of all faithful Episcopalians and other Christians as we protect our legacy and fulfill the trust and dreams of those who have gone before.
Glory to God whose power, working in us, can do infinitely more than we can ask or imagine: Glory to him from generation to generation in the Church, and in Christ Jesus forever and ever. Amen.
The Rt. Rev. Edwin F. Gulick, Jr., D.D.
Bishop of Kentucky and Provisional Bishop of Fort Worth
The Episcopal News Service even has a picture of St. Vincent's Cathedral on its story with this blurb: "St. Vincent's Cathedral in Fort Worth, Texas, is one of the properties now held by former Episcopalians who aligned with the province of the Southern Cone. The continuing Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth has filed a lawsuit for return of St. Vincent's and some 50 other churches and properties." Lovely.
ENS also quotes PB Schori: "We feel sorrow that the former diocesan leaders took such actions that led us to this time," according to the statement. "However, this is a necessary step in order for the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth, comprised of Episcopalians of the full theological spectrum, to continue its gospel work in Texas. In other court venues, the courts have ruled in favor of the Episcopal Church and we anticipate a favorable outcome in this case and a continuation of The Episcopal Church's mission priorities."
In the Star-Telegram article on this development, Ms. Wells--the rump's attorney--makes it clear that for them it is "all or nothing." Clearly they are claiming every inch of property and every penny of every bank account in every parish. Scortched earth.
April 14, 2009