The Fort Worth Star-Telegram has a story this morning on the formation of the Steering Committee.
Walt Cabe, the Steering Committee president, is quoted as saying, ""We might not agree on every position or action, but it's that diversity that has attracted us to remain Episcopalians. That's an important witness."
The story reported "Cabe said that the steering committee is a way for several Episcopal groups to bond and work with the national church to stay intact. He said it should not be categorized as liberal or conservative. 'We want a more tolerant attitude toward one another, a willingness to engage in informal adult conversation and eliminate fear and intimidation," he said."
The story also included Bp. Iker's response: "Fort Worth Diocese Bishop Jack Iker said in a statement Tuesday that the steering committee is 'a self-selected vigilante group whose only stated purpose is 'to remain in The Episcopal Church' no matter what -- and regardless of what TEC believes or practices. They espouse a blind institutional loyalty that borders on institutional idolatry.'"
Iker's statement is also quoted as saying "that the diocese's main purpose is to be faithful to biblical teaching and that the annual diocese convention, composed of elected lay and clergy leaders from every diocese congregation, is the only body that can act on behalf of the diocese."
The story also includes Suzanne Gill, the diocesan director of communications, describing the diocese's "generous" offer to let those parishes who want to stay in The Episcopal Church keep their property.
To which Cabe replied "property issues 'are at the heart of the tangible consequences' that might result if the diocese aligns with another province."
I'd say he hit that nail on the head.
This is indeed a strange place when Episcopalians are called vigilantes for seeking to keep an Episcopal diocese in The Episcopal Church, but a bishop who invites the primate of another province to come persuade our convention delegates to "move" to his province is called "Windsor compliant."
It's also sad that while Bp. Iker insists that those who oppose him do not vilify him, he is free to call members of his diocese idolaters and vigilantes.
Vigilante is an interesting word. It is Spanish for "watchman" or "watcher." It came into the English language through the Southwestern United States, where many Spanish words are used daily. The term has gotten a bad rap because some vigilante groups in our history have resorted to violence when those in positions of power failed to deliver the justice they thought was needed.
But mostly those in power don't like vigilante groups because they are "watchers." People who are walking on a thin line of legality particularly do not like "watchers." I think it is a very interesting choice of words by Bishop Iker.