Texanglican

"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.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

UPDATED: Rump "Diocese" Finally Sues to Take All of our Property

A Pastoral Letter from the Rt. Rev. Edwin F. Gulick, Jr., D.D.

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.
Ephesians 3:20,21

The Rt. Rev. Edwin F. Gulick, Jr., D.D.
Bishop of Kentucky and Provisional Bishop of Fort Worth

It was posted on the website of the rump "diocese" today.

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."

Here is the take of the Dallas Morning News on the development.

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

9 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Reclaim is more like it.

The materials and properties of worship in the Episcopal Church are held in trust for the greater Mother-Church.

Taking the property with you when Iker and company left TEC is just theft plain and simple, which is a sin. And sins can be forgiven, but that doesn't mean there are no consequences to follow.
Pride needs to be swallowed here and property needs to be returned to its rightful owners, the greater Mother-Church.

8:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It seems to me that it would have been money better spent if your Iker-led group had built some Southern Cone Church Buildings after the split instead of trying to hold on to the old Episcopal ones (some of the Episcopal ones are in great disrepair anyway.) Both parties are going to spend so much money on this that they both could have built many many churches with the money.

6:53 AM  
Blogger texanglican said...

Don't forget, anon 2, that many of our buildings (which in many cases the parishioners who have gone to Southern Cone paid for almost entirely themselves--St Vincent's present digs, for example) are integral to our ministries. St Vincent's School, for example, could not simply pack up and move to a gym or theatre somewhere else. The building we have built and used since 1989 is absolutely necessary for the school's continued function. If the rump wins their lawsuit, the school dies immediately thereafter. The entire cathedral complex would have to be sold by the rump for a pittance (what church would need to buy a 300 seat basilica with a school attached?) because the rump could never pay the 2 million dollar mortgage on the complex with the 30 or so ASA congregation that would try to use it after our 430 ASA congregation had to move out for somewhere else. Victory for the rump would be a disaster here for the Church of God. We must resist them by any legal means necessary.

Let's face it, by refusing an amicable property arrangement and trying to seize all the property the rump is trying to destroy fifty healthy, functioning parishes and their ministries. I am at a loss to see how they can believe the Lord is smiling on their efforts.

7:24 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"by refusing an amicable property arrangement" - Episcopalians never refused an amicable property arrangement because there never was one.

There was never any meetings about properties that everyone in the entire diocese was invited to attend. The only "arrangement" I know about is the one where Iker said that if a majority want to stay they can. Majority of who? In my church, anyone not on the vestry was not allowed a voice. There was no vote in our church because the majority of the vestry was in agreement with Iker but they didn't speak for the entire congregation. They didn't speak for me.

And just so you will know, I don't know any Episcopalian who wanted this to come down to a lawsuit.

However, what did you expect? There was nothing done for those of us who wished to remain with TEC. No offer of a place to worship, no offer of prayer books, no offer a chalice or a candle, no priest....because YOU DIDN'T CARE. NO ONE CARED ABOUT US! You cared about yourselves, your agenda. You didn't care that you were pushing us out of our church home where our families were raised, baptized, married and buried. YOU DIDN'T CARE!

Did you ever offer anything to any one of the Faith Communities? Did you? We became black sheep, we've been called names in your blog and others blogs (Stand Firm), we've been judged for our beliefs, we've been uncared for entirely. We who were part of your family are now treated as an enemy and some have called us UnChristian.

If you lose your school because of the lawsuit, I will be there for you. I will help you all I can as it will be a terrible thing, not something I would ever have wanted. It did not have to be like this.

5:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Boo HOO............

7:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon II certainly made Anon I's point!

5:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here is the official noun definition for "rump." It's not quite the insult I think you intend for it to be.
Rump-a small core of members within a group who remain loyal to it.
That pretty much sums it up. You are no longer loyal to the Episcopal Church, therefore you have no legal claim to Episcopal Church Buildings. Saint Vincent's parish building as well as all but one of the parish buildings in question, were built before the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth was founded, and therefore were funded by members of THE EPISCOPAL CHURCH. In 1989, members of the Episcopal Church paid for the building you are referring to, the one at Saint Vincent's. Those members were not Southern Coners at that time. There is no clause that says if you give a gift to a church and if you don't get your way you get the money (or the buildings) back. It's a GIFT, that means YOU CAN'T TAKE IT BACK. YOUR PEOPLE GAVE IT AWAY for the use of the Episcopal Church when they donated the money. I don't know why you do not understand this. Moving on would save you and yours great gobs of money that you could use to build fabulous new church buildings.

11:45 AM  
Blogger texanglican said...

Anon, I didn't use "rump" to insult. I know the definition you have quoted well. As a student of history, I had in mind the "Rump Parliament" of the English Commonwealth in the mid-17th century (it was a "rump" because the majority had been driven out by military force in "Pride's Purge" under Oliver Cromwell's orders--the rump left over was a small minority that did the bidding of their Lord Protector without question). "Rump" here is a pure descriptor, not an insult. The situation of the Rump parliament and the FW rump "diocese" bear certain parallels (granted, we were driven out of TEC by continual hostility toward the orthodox from 815 rather than at halberd point, but IMHO we were forced to depart just as surely as the non-Cromwellian parliamentarians were in the case of the Rump Parliament). Hence my choice of words was simply a bare statement of fact, not an insult.

And BTW, someone above said that they had received insults on this blog. If so, I am sorry. I strive very hard not to engage in ad hominem attacks here, focusing instead theology and polity issues. I have called the leadership of TEC at the national level "heretics" on a few occassions, but that is because I believe they have quite literally fallen to kind of fundamental error that divides them from the Catholic faith (Greek haeresis, "division"). If being told your leaders within TEC are heretics is insulting to you, that is unfortunate but I'm afraid I cannot help you. I believe they are in fact so, and feel it is my duty as a priest to speak the truth as I know it on these important matters.

12:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This just in! Setting a presidence..

"A Fresno County, California, judge, who tentatively ruled that Bishop Jerry Lamb and not John-David Schofield is the legitimate episcopal authority in the Diocese of San Joaquin, is expected to make a final determination within the next several days.

One day before a scheduled May 5 hearing of the Diocese of San Joaquin v. Schofield, California Superior Court Judge Adolfo M. Corona released a tentative summary judgment, a customary court practice. Noting that "the Episcopal Church has spoken as to who holds the position of Bishop of the Diocese of San Joaquin," Corona indicated that he would rule that Lamb has rights to the diocese's property-holding entities, including the Corporation Sole, the Diocesan Investment Trust, and the diocese's Episcopal Foundation.

Lamb was elected provisional bishop shortly after Schofield and a majority of the diocese’s congregations voted in December 2007 to realign with the Argentina-based Anglican Province of the Southern Cone. They attempted to retain diocesan property and assets."

This may impact the outcome of the Ft. Worth ruling.

11:49 AM  

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