A STATEMENT FROM THE STEERING COMMITTEE NORTH TEXAS EPISCOPALIANS
Dec. 5, 2008
The Steering Committee North Texas Episcopalians has learned that the Most Reverend Katharine Jefferts Schori, Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, has accepted former bishop Jack Iker's written statement of November 24, 2008, that he is no longer a priest or bishop of the Episcopal Church and has sent notification of that acceptance to the appropriate church officers, effective December 5, 2008.
The Presiding Bishop's action saves the Church the expense and distress of formal procedures to depose the former bishop and opens the door for an early reorganization of the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth. The Steering Committee speaks for many Episcopalians who opposed Iker's contention that he could remove the diocese from the Episcopal Church.
The Steering Committee will continue to hold him and Mrs. Iker in our prayers.
The pertinent documents and further news developments will be posted at the Steering Committee’s website, steeringcommitteente.org.
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.
The ENS story can be read here here, as can a copy of the Presiding Bishop's letter.
Title III, Canon 12, Section 7 of the Constitution and Canons of the Episcopal Church
Sec. 7. Renunciation of the Ordained Ministry
(a) If any Bishop of this Church not subject to the provisions of
Canon IV.8 shall declare, in writing, to the Presiding Bishop a
renunciation of the ordained Ministry of this Church, and a desire to
be removed therefrom, it shall be the duty of the Presiding Bishop to
record the declaration and request so made. The Presiding Bishop,
being satisfied that the person so declaring is not subject to the
provisions of Canon IV.8 but is acting voluntarily and for causes,
assigned or known, which do not affect the person's moral character,
shall lay the matter before the Advisory Council to the Presiding
Bishop, and with the advice and consent of a majority of the members
of the Advisory Council the Presiding Bishop may pronounce that
such renunciation is accepted, and that the Bishop is released from the
obligations of all Ministerial offices, and is deprived of the right to
exercise the gifts and spiritual authority as a Minister of God's Word
and Sacraments conferred in Ordinations. The Presiding Bishop shall
also declare in pronouncing and recording such action that it was for
causes which do not affect the person's moral character, and shall, if
desired, give a certificate to this effect to the person so removed.
(b) If a Bishop making the aforesaid declaration of the renunciation
of the ordained Ministry be under Presentment for any canonical
Offense, or shall have been placed on Trial for the same, the Presiding
Bishop shall not consider or act upon such declaration until after the
Presentment shall have been dismissed or the said Trial shall have been
concluded and the Bishop judged not to have committed an Offense.
(c) In the case of such renunciation by a Bishop as provided in this
Canon, a declaration of removal shall be pronounced by the Presiding
Bishop in the presence of two or more Bishops, and shall be entered
in the official records of the House of Bishops and of the Diocese in
which the Bishop being removed is canonically resident. The Presiding
Bishop shall give notice thereof in writing to the Secretary of the
Convention and the Ecclesiastical Authority and the Standing
Committee of the Diocese in which the Bishop was canonically
resident, to all Bishops of this Church, the Ecclesiastical Authority of
each Diocese of this Church, the Recorder, the Secretary of the House
of Bishops, the Secretary of the General Convention, The Church
Pension Fund, and the Church Deployment Board.
This is Bishop Iker’s statement of Nov. 24, 2008, as posted on the diocesan website, here.
Katharine Jefferts Schori has no authority over me or my ministry as a Bishop in the Church of
God. She never has, and she never will.
Since November 15, 2008, both the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth and I as the Diocesan
Bishop have been members of the Anglican Province of the Southern Cone. As a result, canonical declarations of the Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church pertaining to us are irrelevant and of no consequence.
The Rt. Rev. Jack Leo Iker
Bishop of Fort Worth
It appears,according to the canon used by the presiding bishop to accept the renunciation of Mr. Iker that, since he was only ordained and consecrated in the Episcopal Church and no other church, that he is no longer either bishop or priest, period.
It's debatable whether a statement by Bishop Iker in a press release consitututes a written communication to the Presiding Bishop, as required by the canon. I don't see that it matters too much in this particular case because Bishop Iker has made it clear that he no longer considers himself to be under the jurisdiction of TEC, and any attempt on his part to challenge the Presiding Bishop's action would be inconsistent with that position.
I am a little concerned that we are setting a precedent that could open the door to the renunciation canon's being abused by future PB's.
It was not a "press release," It was a written response to the inhibition.
What part of communication with the PB (who is not even ordained in his eyes) does he not understand??
I am afraid that I agree with PB KJS and the others who receive what Iker was so strongly pointing out.
Iker has made himself all too clear in this regard. His little ploy - issuing a more general reply that snubbed any specific faithful-respectful communication to KJS (all apparently to rub in his high and mightily self-regarding view that KJS now has and never did have any Anglican ecclesial authority or relationship with/over him/his being a bishop, mainly because of his views on women?) - well Iker has outfoxed himself by becoming his own grandfather.
He goes too far, too cleverly.
Practically, probably better for all involved, as now we can each and all - concentrate on moving on, hopefull forwards along the paths we would have ended up walking anyway.
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