5/16/2007

Fort Worth Bishop and Standing Committee speak their mind.

As reported by Stand Firm and Ruth Gledhill , the text of the Standing Committee and Bishop of Fort Worth is now available. In some ways it is simply a continuation of former requests or demands, but this time the options are spelled out:

"While we remain open to the possibility of negotiation and some form of acceptable settlement with TEC, it appears that our only option is to seek APO elsewhere. This may entail a cooperative effort with other appellant dioceses in consultation with primates of the Anglican Communion, to form a new Anglican Province of the Communion in North America. A second possibility would be for the diocese to transfer to another existing Province of the Anglican Communion. A third possibility would be to seek the status of an extra-provincial diocese, under the authority of the Archbishop of Canterbury, as presently recognized in several other cases."

Of the three, the first - APO with others to form a new Anglican Province in North America in consultation with the Primates as a whole - isn't going anywhere. The twenty of the Global South is becoming smaller, and the Primates are beginning to be questioned as to their authority period. Should something like this go through it will be with only some of the Global South Primates. That means with Akinola as chair. The second is possible through several Provinces, but all hell will break loose then in various councils of the Communion and the Archbishop of Canterbury can chash it in. The third is simply a throwaway. Extra-provincial to Canterbury has (I believe) always been a matter of history (Portugal, Spain, etc) or agreement (Cuba). This would raise the specter of dioceses simply opting out of the Provincial environment all together. Also, if Fort Worth can't stand The Episcopal Church, with it's ordination of women, gay persons, etc, what makes them think The Church of England will be much better?

No, it looks to me as if this is Fort Worth's declaration that they are off to the Other Anglican Communion - you know - the one where there are no women bishops or primates, no gay clergy or bishops, and not too many who will not buy into the New Anglican Catechism. I don't know where they plan to find that communion.

This declaration is presented as the front end of an exploration. Fort Worth said, "we remain open to the possibility of negotiation and some form of acceptable settlement with TEC.
However, they also stated "We do not wish to be affiliated with her, nor with anyone she may appoint or designate to act on her behalf." That sinks negotiation doesn't it?

They are off and running.

11 comments:

  1. "We do not wish to be affiliated with her, nor with anyone she may appoint or designate to act on her behalf."

    It's one thing, that they feel this way.

    It's another thing, that they believe that this is remotely a *Christian* position to take!

    What kind of "GeeZus" do they worship in FW, anyway? :-/

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  2. Is this missive considered actionable by the Executive Committee of the Episcopal Church? What more would be needed if it is, alas, not?

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  3. Presumably a presentment is in the works?

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  4. Bill Carroll17/5/07 6:37 AM

    They've been gone for some time. Consent should have been denied to Bishop Iker's election. This provides a lesson for the Mark Lawrence affair, but I fear he will receive consents the second time.

    I think that this statement falls short of grounds for a presentment, since it is (carefully) framed as deliberations about away forward, but that the Presiding Bishop and her Chancellor should issue a very stern public warning about the consequences of some of the proposed courses of action and then follow through swiftly should it become necessary. Anyone who has watched Ft. Worth knows that its not if but when, barring an exceptional intervention of the Holy Spirit.

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  5. It would seem that at a minimum they have refused to come under the polity of TEC. Refused the authority of the PB. Is that actionable?

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  6. For C.B. Here is article 1 of their constitution. The interesting part is they grant authority to TEC only in so far as it is "orthodox" The question is who gets to decide that. TEC's GC or their GC. I think this will end up in the civil court. Some states leave the decision on to the highest judicatory of the denomination. Others will refuse to get inolved in theo. and use neutral principles of law. I don't know TX. But, here is Artcle 1 Maybe others know:

    "AUTHORITY OF GENERAL CONVENTION
    The Church in this Diocese accedes to the Constitution and Canons of The Episcopal Church, and recognizes the authority of the General Convention of said Church provided that no action of General Convention which is contrary to Holy Scripture and the Apostolic Teaching of the Church shall be of any force or effect in this Diocese."

    From TEC's point of view, it might be time to bring the action and declare the office of bishop open etc but I don't if that would be in its best interest as viewed from the point of view of the Communion. Maybe others more savy than I have thoughts
    EPfizH

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  7. Personally, I believe that it is time for TEC to begin missionary
    work in the Diocese of FT. Worth. Of course, Iker should not have been consecrated, bill. We did every thing we could to keep him from being consecrated. But the Gospel of inclusivity has never played in that diocese since it's inception. It has been isolated for 30 years and we have allowed it.

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  8. muthah+ said...
    Personally, I believe that it is time for TEC to begin missionary

    I had to laugh at that one - what gospel does TEC have that it really believes will have a snow balls chance in hell of gaining any converts? It is going backwards in most other parts of the country, why should its mission be anymore succesful in Ft Worth.

    Brian F

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  9. Bill Carroll18/5/07 8:12 AM

    The last thing we need is a presentment that won't stick. This is the endgame. Pieces should be moved carefully into place to ensure checkmate. Otherwise stalemate results. Which means thirty more years of destructive conflict.

    I reject the criterion of church growth, as well as the analysis that our understanding of the Gospel is responsible for lack of growth or decline. What has happened is that we have lost those who once felt compelled to go to church for cultural reasons. Christendom was never a good model. It's gone and we should embrace that fact. Others we have lost because of social conflicts in the church. Many churches that preach an inclusive Gospel are growing in numbers. But growing in faithfulness to Christ is what really matters. And all churches that get off the fence and embrace the lives and ministries of lgbt people have grown in that way and in many cases in numbers as well.

    I predict that we will grow in both numbers and faithfulness when we have a coherent sense of our own identity as a progressive, liturgical, non-papal Catholic, and reformed Church, which is exactly the direction that the Prayer Book points us.

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  10. My only personal experience with Bishop Iker was that when I asked him a question through email , "Are you planning on leaving the Episcopal Church," a genuine question on my part, was responded to with the words, and I quote, "YOUR QUESTION IS SARCASTIC."

    It turns out he WAS PLANNING ON LEAVING, REFER TO THE APO DOCUMENT RELEASED BY THE DIOCESE OF FORT WORTH MAY 16th.

    AT LEAST ONE CHURCH IN THE DIOCESE HAS THE GUTS TO STAND UP TO THIS (TRINITY). Here is the Resolution they passed on May 19th:
    http://www.fortworthtrinity.org/vestry%20response.htm

    Resolution of the Vestry - 05/19/07

    The Vestry of Trinity Episcopal Church wishes to express its profound disagreement with the actions of the Executive Council taken on May 16, 2007, concerning alternative primatial oversight.

    Trinity Episcopal Church, while affirming its place in the Diocese of Ft. Worth and in the Protestant Episcopal Church of the United States of America, does not support any search for forming a new Anglican Province. Trinity Episcopal Church does not support transferring to another existing province of the Anglican Communion. Trinity Episcopal Church does not support seeking the status of an extra-provincial diocese. Trinity Episcopal Church affirms the place of the Diocese of Fort Worth in the Protestant Episcopal Church of the United States of America.

    It looks like Bishop Iker won't take the WHOLE DIOCESE with him when he leaves the Episcopal Church after all.

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  11. Ouch!! ... I'm so glad I'm not bumping into you guys in a dark alley!

    I think that simply the fact that I happen to be in the Diocese of Fort Worth and don't really have a problem with being here, somehow that is tantamount to treason for you guys outside our diocese.

    As far as "missionary work" by the TEC in the Diocese of Fort Worth, I just wish you guys would leave us alone -- unless of course, you wish to join us the next time we head to the night shelter or something. In that case, by all means come alone! We can always use extra hands serving the poor and needy right here at home.

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