Thursday, February 05, 2009

How do you "release" what you do not hold?

Today, the former bishop of Fort Worth issued this statement.

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DI O C E S E RE L E A S E S FO U R PA R I S H E S

FORT WORTH, Texas – In a hearing Monday, Feb. 2, the Bishop and Standing Committee of the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth took action under diocesan Canon 32 to release the property and assets of four parishes from the Corporation of the diocese. The rectors and elected wardens of the four parishes were notified of the hearing and invited to attend.

The property of Trinity Episcopal Church, Fort Worth, and St. Martin-in-the-Fields Episcopal Church, Southlake, has been transferred into the name of the Rectors and Wardens of those parishes, respectively. The property of St. Christopher’s Episcopal Church, Fort Worth, and St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, Stephenville, will be transferred upon removal of financial encumberances in the form of building loans currently in the name of the Corporation.

As required by Canon 32, the Bishop’s Orders were issued upon determination that the Vestry and Rector in each of the four parishes has expressed an intention to remain in union with the General Convention of The Episcopal Church (USA), and that significant majorities of the congregations are in support of that intention. “It is my order, therefore,” the Rt. Rev. Jack Leo Iker wrote to each, “that the relationship between this diocese” and each of these churches “is hereby dissolved. It is no longer in union with the Convention of this diocese and is released from its obligations as a member congregation.”

In a cover letter, Bishop Iker concluded, “Please know of my continued prayers and best wishes to you and all the other people at [these churches] in the years ahead.” The letters and Bishop’s Orders were delivered by mail this week.

The Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth was organized in 1982. It is a constituent member of the Anglican Communion and the Province of the Southern Cone. The Rt. Rev. Jack L. Iker has served as the third diocesan Bishop of Fort Worth since 1995. The diocese enjoys companion relationships with the Dioceses of Northern Malawi and Northern Mexico.
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The Steering Committee North Texas Episcopalians issued this response:

The Steering Committee North Texas Episcopalians is very pleased that Bishop Jack Iker has stated his intentions not to assert any claims to and authority over the people and property of these four Episcopal parishes. We are pleased that Bp. Iker has formally acknowledged that he is no longer their bishop and has no authority over them and that they are not part of the Anglican Province of the Southern Cone.

Bp. Iker is no longer the bishop of the Diocese of Fort Worth because he left the Episcopal Church and has renounced his ministry in the Episcopal Church. Because he did that, Bishop Iker has not been the bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth for some time. He had no authority to initiate a Canon 32 proceeding.

Because he and other diocesan leaders have left the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth, the diocese will elect a new bishop and select other diocesan leaders at a special meeting of the convention of the diocese this weekend.

We continue to hold Bishop and Mrs. Iker in our prayers.
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You know, I suspose this is a good sign. Maybe some tiny bits of reality are seeping through. But I'm not optimistic. Jack Iker has a whole lot of people inhabiting his delusion with him and they are constantly reinforcing one another in that delusion.

Remain alert.

6 comments:

+clumber said...

Be vigilant, like a watchdog in the night! Or a clumber on patrol.

Erik said...

No All-Saints on the list, and by very good reason. Whatcha gonna do when Bishop Iker comes for you?

Fred Schwartz said...

Could you all please stop referring to Mr. Iker as bishop, he is not. I know it may very well be a force of habit but he has renounced his orders. The presiding bishop has accepted his renunciation. He is not a bishop, the sooner we start using the actual titles for those who have been deposed or who have renounced the more quickly we will come to a conclusion.

Katie Sherrod said...

Actually, he is still a bishop -- he's just not a bishop in the Episcopal Church -- a point we make repeatedly.

Lynn said...

Katie,

As you can imagine, this is a bit difficult to piece together from afar. Are the mortgages on St. Christopher’s/Fort Worth and St. Luke's/Stephensville in the name of both the (former TEC) diocese? I do get that impression from the "other" side's sites.

I can only hope that the Texas courts will take a Judge Judy-like approach, and say "what the heck did you think that 'Episcopal' part meant when you were a diocese of the Episcopal Church?" As an Episcopalean, I'd ask Iker -why are you keeping the name if you don't want to be associated with us? Why do you think a diocese of a national church is, in fact, a stand alone church just because you are incorporated under Texas law for practical reasons?

I think this keep-the-Episcopal-name twist that Iker and Duncan have used will backfire. But well I know how state law can make a difference in these matters - I live in the Diocese of Virginia (actually, my parish had a drive-by shooting from Baby Blue near the end of the proceedings.)

Fred Schwartz said...

Katie,
he was not deposed. He renounced his vows. That makes him no bishop in any church. That being said, it is (just) my opinion that we continue to salve these folks egos when we continue to refer to them by old titles they no longer have a right to, at least, as you say, in the Episcopal Church.