January 16, 2008

A Message from Bishop Iker

to all Clergy and Convention Delegates of the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth

  Yesterday was a rather interesting day, and I wanted to make certain that all of you were aware of the following events:

BISHOP SAM HULSEY, the retired Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Northwest Texas, hosted an organizational meeting yesterday afternoon at his home here in Fort Worth for all clergy of this Diocese who are opposed to the decisions made by our Diocesan Convention in November and who are committed to keeping this Diocese in The Episcopal Church, no matter what. Though I was not given a list of those invited, I understand that only two or three rectors attended and that the rest were a handful of retired priests and a couple of deacons. Of the 14 clergy who voted against the constitutional changes in November, it is believed that half are retired or non-parochial.

I HAVE RECEIVED A SECOND THREATENING LETTER from the Presiding Bishop, Katharine Jefferts Schori. Interestingly enough, it arrived on the same day as the meeting convened by Bishop Hulsey. As you will recall, in a much-publicized letter in November the PB had threatened me with disciplinary charges of “abandonment of the communion of this church” if I permitted the Diocesan Convention to vote on the proposed constitutional revisions that were put before us. This time she threatens me with charges of a violation of my ordination vows if I continue “any encouragement of such a belief” that parishes and dioceses can leave The Episcopal Church. Well, so much for an invitation to dialogue and conversation! It’s all about threats of dire consequences if you don’t comply with the party line.

BISHOP BOB DUNCAN of Pittsburgh was officially charged with abandonment of the communion of the church on this very same day! Though the Review Committee endorsed the charges brought by the PB, the three senior diocesan bishops would not consent to his being inhibited from functioning as a bishop, as they had done in the same charges brought against Bishop John-David Schofield of the Diocese of San Joaquin just last week. The essential difference in the two cases is that San Joaquin approved measures to separate from The Episcopal Church with a second, ratifying vote on December 8th, whereas the Pittsburgh Convention approved of their measures at the preliminary, first reading vote in November, an action which will need to be ratified at the 2008 Convention. Fort Worth is in the same position as Pittsburgh.

BISHOP STANTON OF DALLAS AND I had a very good meeting yesterday at St. Vincent’s, where we discussed how to make provision for any parishes in this Diocese that may choose to remain in TEC if the Diocesan Convention votes to separate from The Episcopal Church. We were joined by our Canons to the Ordinary, the Presidents of our respective Standing Committees, and the Chancellor of the Diocese of Dallas. You will be hearing more about this in due course.

Thank you all for our prayers, encouragement and support during these difficult days in the life of our beloved church.

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

Concerning these matters:

Bishop Iker's statements to the pressThe Presiding Bishop’s Jan. 9 letter