Bishop Iker ignores his vows.

Bishop Iker has publicly stated that he is not bound by the vows he took at his ordination as a bishop. The Living Church quotes him as saying,
“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 Nov. 15, 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.”
He seems to believe that departing the Episcopal Church and joining another, even one that is part of the Anglican Communion, without permission of the House of Bishops, is not a disregard of the canons he swore to uphold.

He seems to believe that his ordination vows did not mean that he was bound by the specific authority that the Presiding Bishop has to inhibit, an authority based in the canons he swore to uphold.

Here is what he said on the occasion of his ordination, " In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, I N.N., chosen bishop of the Church in N., do solemnly declare that I do believe the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments to be the Word of God, and to contain all things necessary to salvation; and I do solemnly engage to conform to the doctrine, discipline, and worship of The Episcopal Church."

The Annotated Constitution and Canons, while not the final word on the matter at least carries some weight, says about the word "discipline,"

The introduction of the word "discipline" in 1901, making the pledge of conformity one to "the Doctrine, Discipline, and Worship" of this Church extends the ordination vow to obedience to the provisions of the Constitution and Canon. In as much as violation of the Constitution and Canons of the General Convention or of those of a diocese constitute an offense under Title IV, Canon 1, for which persons in Holy Orders may be liable to presentment and trial, it is appropriate that the engagement of conformity to the discipline of the Church, as well as to the doctrine and worship, be included in the declaration."
Bishop Iker cannot have been unmoved by the content of that oath and cannot have misunderstood. That being true it seems quite odd that he now believes that under the Constitution and Canons the Presiding Bishop "has no authority over me or my ministry as a Bishop in the Church of God. She never has and she never will."

What he means is he doesn't believe she is the Presiding Bishop, after all she is a woman, women cannot be ordained priests or bishops, and therefore she and the whole of The Episcopal Church is pretending that she is such. What he means is he no longer recognizes the authority of the Constitution and Canons of The Episcopal Church to have a hold on him. He is saying to The Episcopal Church, "why, you're nothing but a pack of cards!"

Well, Bishop Iker, that may be, but it also means that you really didn't mean what you said at your ordination, in which case you are not a bishop, or worse, you are, and got there by telling lies, since you didn't believe then or now that you were going to "solemnly engage to conform to the doctrine, discipline, and worship of The Episcopal Church."
Bishop Iker's response is petulant at best and worse, arrogant.


  1. Well, of course, to +/-Iker she's just a yucky girl anyway - so no wonder he doesn't think anything she does is valid :P

    I would, of course, pay good money to see such a conversation face-to-face. I hear she's faced down sea captains on similar issues in her past, so I don't imagine one blustering (ex-)Bishop would be much of challenge :D

  2. Let me be the first wish him well as a Bishop in "The Church of God". I suppose he believes he has ownership of the property of the diocese and plans to transfer title to the Southern Cone. Given his presumed conviction that women aren't anatomically constructed or intellectually equipped to function as priests he should have renounced his orders when he was in Columbus for GC '06 upon the realization that ++KJS' had won the election as the new PB. I hope that the HOB won't delay in voting to depose him when it meets in March, there can't be any doubt about this one or are there still people who think he deserves another chance.

  3. Or as they say in the region that he is from: ¨Just plain pig headed.¨


  4. What I find interesting in Bishop Iker's words are the 'she never has" part of the "“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" statement. Even if one asserts (as Bishop Iker does) that after the vote to leave TEC that TEC doesn't have any authority over him, it certainly has had such authority up to and including the time in which +KJS has been Presiding Bishop. But, of course, Bishop Iker doesn't believe that women can be validly ordained, so as you assert, he doesn't think that she is really the Presiding Bishop.

  5. "Bishop Iker's response is petulant at best and worse, arrogant."

    But it is hardly surprising. This is just another attempt to perpetuate the canonical fiction that individual dioceses can somehow vote unilaterally to leave the Episcopal Church. This, too, will get cleared up....and pass.


  6. You address here what bothers me the most about the actions of priests and bishops in San Joaquin, Fort Worth, Quincy, and Pittsburgh, who have turned their backs on the Episcopal Church. These are spiritual leaders who have taken holy vows that I do not believe can be rationalized away. If they feel they can no longer live up to those vows, then there is a way to ask to be relieved of them, and then to take the consequences that go with that choice.

  7. Mark,

    You never seemed this upset when Spong ignored his vows.

    Stuff happens.

    - PM

  8. Bishop "Spong ignored his vows"?
    Please remind me what vows he ignored.

  9. Just a question:

    Didn't these bishops take vows under a previous Prayer Book wording? What could they mean based on those words?

  10. Mark, I didn't mean to drop a Spong-bomb on you then leave, but I had a bundt cake in the oven and had to go, and I think you understand the point.

    It is a little late to get indignant about the ignoring of vows, and radical interpretations of either the canons or scripture.

    For a long, long time liberals have ignored the common interpretations of scripture and canons when it suited the new thing they felt God was telling them.

    That is why people laugh at the PB when she decries border crossings as being "against tradition". The obvious question is, when is OK to enact discipline against clergy who commit acts "against tradition" and when is it not?

    And as far as vows go, people ignore their vows when circumstances change. Ask Bishop Robinson's wife, and ask Bishop Beisner's wives. Stuff happens, and vows are broken. Once again, it's too late to get indignant now.

    I suppose that is what blogs are for, anyway - getting indignant about things. But this is where we are. If the Episcopal Church wanted discipline in the ranks, they should have enforced it evenly and thoroughly from the start. The monkey is out of the cage.

    - PM

  11. Allen...no all of them were ordained after the new Prayer book went into effect, more the same wording has existed since 1901 in the canons, with the word "discipline" as part of the oath.

    PM... the Spong bomb is ok...it just doesn't work. Spong has never been deposed, so that particular piece of obedience has not been tested. He pushed the limits a good bit, got lots of criticism and critique, including from me, and charges against him never stuck. As to whether or not he was in conformance with his vows, it is a matter untested by either trial or Title IV charges.

    I am not in general indignant about the ignoring of vows, I am indignant about Bishop Iker acting as if he had never heard of the notion that The Presiding Bishop did have some authority over him, as in pronouncing inhibition, or that he was in any way bound by the Constitution and Canons simply because he had moved on. If that is the way he feels about such vows, canons, etc, I can hardly wait to see how Bishop Venables will handle his rather peculiar attitude towards canons. BTW, I have no idea if he or other clergy had to take a vow of conformity to the canons of the Province of the Southern Cone.

  12. I will be so glad when this is all over. Sure, it will take about 10 years for it to be Really Over, but this is a good start.

    Bishop Iker's grandchildren will read of his part in our history and they will be as deeply embarrassed as the grandchildren of former slave owners.

    He is the one with the brush in his hand, painting his own self-portrait as an angry, pig-headed, petulant cleric, slamming the door on his way out.

    When future generation see his self-portrait, they will cringe.

    BTW, the word verification for this post 'hotion' - like potion with an 'h'. What fun.

  13. Hang on a second, writes JOHN 2007. The PB does not have authority over any bishop, as near as I can tell. The HOB does. The GC does. Am I not right about this? I bristled when I read Iker's words (tho' even in my most charitable moments I confess I do not give KJS anything close to passing marks)But then I thought he might, technically, be right. Comments?

  14. BTW, I have no idea if he or other clergy had to take a vow of conformity to the canons of the Province of the Southern Cone.

    Not according to those canons, which make no provision for such an oath.

  15. Um, the ones who ignored (retired) Bishop Spong's supposedly broken vows, P-Monkey, were the conservatives who never presented (charged) him, DESPITE believing he had broken those vows! [Where have progressives ever "vowed" to do your dirty work for y'all?]

    people ignore their vows when circumstances change. Ask Bishop Robinson's wife

    And again w/ the +Robinson (not to mention Isabelle R. McDaniels) slandering. Do the Ten Commandments not apply in your version of "Anglicanism", Monkey?

  16. One thing that a lot of the old boys don't get....KJS grew up scientifically in a men's world. As a woman scientist of the same age, we knew that we had to be stronger, better, more clever, and one hell of a lot more persistent. And we had to stand up to the Old Boys factions to get anywhere. And somehow when that training and assertiveness becomes evident, oh, dear, it seems that we aren't the girls that know to step aside to male authority. Get over it, old boys. We know our strength. And we aren't afraid to use it for good. However, it might come in a velvet glove. You won't know it until it hits.

  17. Mark, you have a little nugget at the end of your 9:47 p.m. comment. I've often wondered, isn't there some public declaration of vows when these bishops are received into other provinces? It's kind of odd to think it's all done by phone calls and paperwork, since Anglicans are a wee bit ceremonial. A secret ceremony in South America? Could be a bit damning, and devious, since it would be solid proof of abandonment. IF you or anyone else remembers something about this issue, I'd be curious because it's not coming to mind with JDS in San Joaquin.

    As to the regularity of Bishop Katharine's ordination and consecration to the episcopate, sometimes I sit back and just shake my head about the howls and dries. I was an undergrad in the Washington DC Metro area when the first women were regularly ordained as priests. That was over 30 years ago! Bishop Iker had plenty of youthful time to change his ordained ministry in a graceful way if WO was unacceptable to him.I first met a (quietly, but not secretly) partnered and gay ordained minister in the mid-80s, that's not any small amount of time, either.

    Where have these people been? Sir, we are on the planet Earth, in a society that doesn't live under the sand.

  18. JCF,

    Why are you accusing me of slander? That is a serious charge.

    Read the wedding vows in BCP. When someone gets divorced, they are either breaking their vows or ignoring them. That is not a judgment, but a fact. We all pick and choose what we get indignant about. But ignoring vows to God made in a church even by the highest of clergy members is not a new phenomenon.

    It can't be slander if it's true.

    - PM

  19. There is at least one other interpretation, Mark - namely that he meant those vows when he made them but circumstances have so changed that the vow no longer can/should be honored. How does one honor that vow if, he believes in his heart, that TEC is apostate? I suppose he could have resigned but to do so would have left his flock at the mercy of the PB and her merry henchmen. So what happens when one's obedience to God conflict with his obedience to an earthly construct? How would you resolve the dilemma if TEC instituted a practice that was contrary to your faith? Would you abandon your flock and resign? Would you seek safe refuge for them elsewhere? What would you do?

  20. PM opined, "For a long, long time liberals have ignored the common interpretations of scripture and canons when it suited the new thing they felt God was telling them."

    Whether this true in any, particular case notwithstanding, it is plainly slander when applied as a generalization.

    I also gather that PM is suggesting it is perfectly OK for (so-called) conservatives to behave this way, since the evil libruhls are doin' it, too (and to which my Mother would respond "Two wrongs don't make a right.")

  21. "...they will be as deeply embarrassed as the grandchildren of former slave owners".

    Mother Kaeton,

    That's a leap, a stretch, and quite a reach. Are you personally embarassed about the decline of your diocese? Should you be? About the decline of TEC under a mainly unopposed revisionist agenda? Should you be?

    In ten years TEC will be fighting for its own survival and may look back and remember some loud voices of our time and grind collective teeth that so much patience and indulgence came to that moment. Let's be concerned about the spiral DOWNWARDS of our province and not worry about another province that has yet to be born. We just lost tens of thousands of people. We are currently losing a church a week now and it's increasing.

    What's your plan?

    If you have none that works, should you be embarrassed?

  22. Petulant and arrogant are two adjectives that have been a hallmark of Mr. Ikers entire "ministry" in Ft. Worth.

  23. Allen,

    Are you suggesting that we stop the downward spiral by sanctioning bigotry in the name of God?

    That is wrong, and we can't do it, even if it means we die.

    Numbers do not necesarily tell the only story of success. Being willing to die for what you know is right is an alternative definition of what it means to be successful, it seems to me.

  24. Allen predicted, "In ten years TEC will be fighting for its own survival..."

    Proof ? Something concrete, please, and not just concocted from a fevered imagination...

    (BTW, if y'all are that good at predicting the future, why not just pick lotto numbers to fund your breakaway parishes ;)

  25. George, I don't know about Mark, but I have certainly considered whether the Episcopal Church might move so significantly that I could no longer serve within it. While I don't have a "congregation" per se, my ecclesiastical endorsment for healthcare ministry by the Episcopal Church is required for my position as a chaplain; so to leave would require that I change my position. I have thought about what ecclesiastical body I might find comfortable.

    So, what would I do? I would certainly have to leave. How would I respond to those who wanted to know why and might agree with me? I would be clear that I was leaving; why I was leaving; and where I intended to go. I might even observe my thought that others might be welcome if they wanted to leave, too.

    And then I would leave the decision to them. You write of Bishop Iker, "I suppose he could have resigned but to do so would have left his flock at the mercy of the PB and her merry henchmen." You seem to have taken too far the Biblical image that we are God's sheep, for you suggest that folks can't decide for themselves where they need to be. You seem to suggest, too, an approach to "the PB and her merry henchmen" not unlike the proverbial "jackbooted thugs." Not that something dreadful would be utterly impossible in the right circumstances; look at the Diocese of Harare in Zimbabwe. We in the Episcopal Church do not face such circumstances. Moreover, surely none of us are more powerful than God's grace. So, just how much real hazard is there in such "tender mercy?"

    Twice I have vowed, and signed in writing, to follow "the doctrine, discipline, and worship of the Episcopal Church." If I could no longer do so, I would have to leave. I might talk about why. That would, however, be an individual act of conscience, with the individual losses it entailed. I would leave to others and to God how they acted on their consciences.

  26. I recently read somewhere that Jack Leo Iker's confirmation as bishop elect was a near thing - specifically, that he had trouble getting the necessary consents in the House of Bishops. This source suggested that it was the consent of one John Spong that put Iker over the top - a move Spong justified with the observation that, if there is room in the Episcopal Church for a Jack Spong there should be room for a Jack Iker.

    Can anyone advise me on the veracity of this half-remembered tale? I don't recall where I read it, and I may have the details wrong.

  27. John 2007, the PB has certain limited canonical authority over bishops of the Episcopal Church. These are faculties granted by canon. For instance, the PB is the person charged with carrying out the disciplinary canons in relation to a bishops, such as in this case. It is also the PB who deposes a bishop, after a vote by the House of Bishops. The PB is also the President of the House of Bishops, and exercises some limited authority in that capacity, over other members of the House. There are also a number of other functions in which the PB exercises such oversight, in relation to overseas dioceses and congregations.

  28. Oh, Allen, you are one who loves to pick at scars and make it bleed.

    I am not now nor have I ever been ashamed of the Gospel of Jesus Christ - especially as proclaimed and enacted by the Diocese of Newark.

    The plan? To continue to do the work of the gospel which will prosper now that the weeds of those who hate TEC are, even now, weeding themselves out.

    As for Jack Iker, John David Schofield, Keith Ackerman and Bob Duncan? Well, I predict that history will not be kind. I hope, as a Christian, I will rise to being kinder to them than they have to any of us.

    Stretch? No, sir. Not so. It is a reach that will not cause one to break a sweat.

    Gee, Alan, you sound an awful like like Don Perschall and Dan Martins and very much like the boys and girls over at SFiF.

    Doom and gloom, gloom and doom.

    You really need to get a new verse to that awful dirge y'all have been singing for the past 10 years.

  29. And we expected anything else?

    He has his own version of reality.

    Apparently, there's 4 or so copies. We know who owns them.

    See ya, Iker!

  30. Well said, Marshall.

    [NB to P-Monkey: you neglected a 3rd option, in ending a marriage. A mutually-agreed, good will parting of spouses, to remain as FRIENDS (and co-parents). I think it's probably quite uncommon (my ex-spouse broke his vow to me, so I know the alternative), but we have the testimony of the two ex-spouses---that Isabelle R. McDaniels formally introduced Gene at his consecration, along w/ their adult daughters, is POWERFUL evidence---that #3 is the compassionate option they chose. To say Gene "broke" or "ignored" his marital vow to Isabelle is, I repeat, slander.]

  31. It seems to me that people have been writing the obituary of the Episcopal Church daily for over 40 years now.

  32. Malcolm
    Thank you for your response. However, your circumstance is hardly analogous to that of a bishop, or even a rector, in whose charge is a congregation. I also do not understand your comment about a bishop not giving the people any choice. They elected him as their bishop to lead them. He is doing that. Those who disagree are free to do so and to seek a relationship with a different episcopal authority. No one is forced to be a member of the Diocese of Fort Worth in the Southern Cone.

  33. Numbers do not necesarily tell the only story of success. Being willing to die for what you know is right is an alternative definition of what it means to be successful, it seems to me.

    Terry, amen, and amen, and amen! Please! Let's move away from who wins and who loses by the numbers and focus on doing right. I dislike the numbers game intensely. Numbers are no measure of success in living out the message of the Gospel.

  34. George, I have no idea what you're talking about. My only post on this thread was to ask about the veracity of the tale that Jack Iker was only confirmed due to the support of Jack Spong.

  35. Sorry malcolm. My response was intended for Marshall.


OK... Comments, gripes, etc welcomed, but with some cautions and one rule:
Cautions: Calling people fools, idiots, etc, will be reason to bounce your comment. Keeping in mind that in the struggles it is difficult enough to try to respect opponents, we should at least try.