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From the Bishop

Alleluia! Christ is risen!

As we move forward in this Easter Season of celebrating the joy of the Resurrection of our Lord, we now begin to look ahead to the great feasts of the Ascension and the Day of Pentecost.

In the coming weeks, there are several clergy changes taking place that I wanted you to know about.

The search process for a new Rector of St. Andrew’s in downtown Fort Worth has now begun, and I ask you to pray for the search committee as they pursue the discernment process of finding a new pastor to shepherd them in the coming years. At the same time, Fr. Sam Wilgus has been called to serve as an assistant priest in the parish to assist Canon Ron McCrary, the priest in charge during the interim. Fr. Wilgus comes to us from St. John’s Cathedral in Quincy, Ill.  He and his wife are the parents of an infant child, and we look forward to welcoming them to our diocese.

Fr. John Phelps has announced his plans to retire from the active ordained ministry, effective June 30th. For the past 17 years, he has been the vicar at St. Luke’s Church in Mineral Wells, St. Peter’s by the Lake in Possum Kingdom, and the Church of the Holy Spirit in Graham. I have appointed Deacon Kendall Felton to serve as his successor, effective July 1st. Fr. Phelps has also been serving as the Dean of the Western Deanery for several years, and a new Dean will be appointed in the near future. Please pray for Fr. Phelps and Kate as he makes this transition into retirement.

Deacon Joseph Francis, a senior at Nashotah House, has been assigned to serve as the Diocesan Curate at St. Vincent’s Cathedral in Bedford, beginning July 1st. He graduates from seminary on May 24th, and he and his wife, Claire, are expecting their first child in early June. Keep them in your prayers in the eventful weeks to come.

I will ordain Deacon Kendall Felton to the sacred priesthood at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, June 9, at St. Andrew’s Church in Fort Worth, where he has been serving as a deacon in training since the beginning of this year. All diocesan clergy are invited to vest and process in cassock, surplice and white stole. A reception will follow. He and his family will be moving to Mineral Wells in late June.

There are also two churches in the diocese that are being closed at this time. The first is the Church of the Good Shepherd in Brownwood, where the Vestry has decided to terminate Sunday services and to merge with St. John’s Anglican Church, which is only three miles away. This proposal is a strategic move that will strengthen our unified witness as one Anglican Church in that community. Fr. Robert McBride has retired as the Rector at Good Shepherd, but will continue to live in Brownwood.

The vestry of All Saint’s Church in Wichita Falls has also decided to close its church, due to declining membership and resources. The last Sunday service will be on the Day of Pentecost, May 20th. Under the guidance of their vicar, Fr. John Munson, members are being asked to transfer to the Church of the Good Shepherd in Wichita Falls or to St. John the Divine in Burkburnett.  Please pray for them during this time of transition. 

By action of the Annual Convention in November, both of these closing congregations will be dissolved, and all of their property and assets will revert to the Diocesan Corporation for the benefit of the Diocese. 

God bless you in your witness and ministry in the months ahead.

Faithfully in Christ,

The Rt. Rev. Jack Leo Iker
Bishop of Fort Worth