Saturday, November 15, 2008

A Statement from those who will reorganize the diocese


The Steering Committee North Texas Episcopalians laments the divisive and uncanonical actions taken at the 26th Annual Convention of the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth today.

Bishop Jack Iker and his adherents, no longer comfortable in the Episcopal Church, tried to remove the entire diocesan structure, including real estate, from the church and align with another Anglican province based in South America. The Constitution and canons of the Episcopal Church do not permit such actions, and we anticipate a lengthy legal engagement to sort out the issues created by this action today.

Though the bishop and his colleagues are departing the Episcopal Church today, many Episcopalians in the diocese will not, and the remaining Episcopal laity, clergy, and congregations will move soon to reorganize the diocese as a fully involved entity of the Episcopal Church in union with its General Convention. We acknowledge the authority of the Most Rev Katharine Jefferts Schori, presiding bishop. The Episcopal Church’s work of Christian ministry and evangelization will go forward as Episcopalians worship and work together within the context of the Church’s historical faith, creeds, and Holy Scriptures.

The continuing but reorganized Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth will adopt an open-arms posture which will welcome back home those who have left the Church today, should they one day find they want once more to be part of the historic church which has functioned here since the mid-nineteenth century as part of the Episcopal Church.

Those who want to learn more about where and how to continue to worship with Episcopalians and to join our work to rebuild and revitalize the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth, can visit the contact points listed below. The Episcopal Church still welcomes you!

The Steering Committee North Texas Episcopalians has been formed to assist those who wish to remain Episcopalians if Bishop Jack Iker tries to achieve his publicly stated goal of leaving the Episcopal Church and attempting to align this diocese with another province of the Anglican Communion.

It is these Episcopalians who will, with the help of the leadership of the Episcopal Church, reorganize the diocese if the bishop and other diocesan leaders choose to leave the Episcopal Church.

Media: For more information, contact: Walter Cabe


Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Dear, dear friends in Fort Worth,

I lament your pain and sorrow and I applaud your courage, grace and spiritual maturity.

You are a witness to the inclusive, expansive, unconditional love of God in Christ Jesus.

Know that thousands upon thousands are praying for you today and in the weeks and months ahead.

God's abundant blessings be upon you.

Carol Cole Flanagan said...

Katie, prayers ascend for you and Gayland, and for all the children of light in Fort Worth who have labored long and hard for the advance of God's reign in an alien land. A new day has dawned and resurrection is at hand!

Caminante said...

You all are in my prayers as you go through this massive time of transition. Like Elizabeth, I lament what you are going through... but I pray that some day all will be well.... Lee

Anonymous said...

I found your blog yesterday after I saw the result of the Fort Worth vote on CNN's news feed. I wish I'd found it four years ago, when I moved to Grand Prairie, from San Jose, CA.

I'd been exploring the Episcopal Church in San Jose on a casual basis, after, at the age of 30, a need for some form of spirituality finally kicked in. Somehow, we ended up at St. Andrew's (Grand Prairie) partly because it's where we live, and partly because when I contacted a bunch of local churches, they answered their email.

I am a life-long peace and social justice activist, and a California liberal, so you can, I'm sure, imagine the level of culture shock I experienced when we moved here, and found out Fort Worth was one of only a few places in the country that didn't ordain women.

For two years, I lived with it, rationalizing that this was the church in my community, that I shouldn't have to drive into Dallas, etc, etc. But I was heartsick. My husband and I stopped attending services at all. I couldn't marry my own beliefs to what I was hearing and reading in the diocese newsletters.

This year, I gave up on TEC in my county, and began attending the Unitarian Universalist Church of Oak Cliff. Politically, I feel at home there. Spiritually, I know I can find some of what I need. I'd hoped to balance attendance there (I miss communion. I miss the ritual and the sense of history. And I miss the language of the Scriptures, even while I love the ability to question everything, and the acceptance that sometimes we all have our own "right answer" that I have with the UUs.)

After Saturday, I can't, in good conscience, EVER go back.

I applaud those of you who are staying in The Episcopal Church, and wish you all the best of luck. I applaud YOU for this blog. I'm glad that there are, after all, some progressive Episcopalians in Texas - I was, and am, very much disillusioned by my experience here.

I've totally spammed your blog with this. Sorry. I didn't realize I was emotional until I sat down to write.

God bless you.

Katie Sherrod said...

Your pain leaps off the page. Obviously you've been wounded by the church here, and I am so sorry. Wounded people abound here, sadly. But I hope you won't totally give up on the Episcopal Church. What you witnessed in this diocese is NOT the Episcopal Church but a twisted toxic distortion of it. Now we have a chance to build a healthy diocese - - and we could use the help of a social justice advocate. :) Give us a little time, and come visit -- at Trinity, All Saints, St. Christopher's or one of the faith communities. You are welcome in THIS Episcopal Diocese, dear child of God. Come join us.

Courtney said...

I'm in somewhat of the same situation as missmeliss. I am from Fort Worth, but was not raised Episcopalian. I found the church when I was at college, and was baptized by a female priest who really helped me to grow in the faith. A few years ago, I moved back to Fort Worth. I found the views expressed by the diocese so intolerable that it discouraged me from finding a new church home, and I haven't attended church now in several years. I just didn't feel welcome in Fort Worth.

I have been keeping up with what's been going on in the diocese through your blog, and want to extend my thanks also for writing it. I might come back some day and give the church another try. I am glad that there are people like you who are working to make the church what it should be, rather than what it's been.

Katie Sherrod said...

I hope you will join us in the reorganizing of the diocese. Yesterday a priest who is a woman celebrated at one of the faith communities. Women priests have always been welcome at Trinity Fort Worth, and certainly are now.
The days ahead are going to involve a lot of hard work, but spirits are high as we srtive to live out our Bapismal Covenant. Your voice is an important one. I hope you will join us.

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for your kind words.

I'm happy at UUCOC right now, but I miss the Episcopal church especially during Advent, and after checking out the Trinity website, I'm intrigued by much of what it offers. We'll definitely check it out sometime this season, and if it feels like a good fit, will visit more regularly, if Trinity won't object to such a thing

The services are different, and the language, but there is nothing in either faith that invalidates the other.