Katie Sherrod, well known journalist from Texas and lay leader in the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth responds to the former bishop of Fort Worth, Jack Iker, at her blog Desert’s Child.
Here is the statement that the former bishop of Fort Worth wanted read in all parishes today. My responses are in italics.
The Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth – As We Realign
Our 26th annual convention has taken action to secure our future as a diocese.
During the Nov. 14 & 15 diocesan convention, your clergy and elected delegates have taken a stand as faithful members of the worldwide Anglican Communion. They have heeded the call to “contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints.” (Jude 3)
KS [And we wish these individuals well. They just don’t get to take the property with them as they go. For our part, we remain faithful members of the worldwide Anglican Communion in the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth in union with the General Convention, recognizing the Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori as presiding bishop. We have already begun the work of reorganizing the diocese.]
What has changed?
By voting to change our diocesan Constitution and Canons, we have withdrawn from the General Convention, dissociating ourselves from the moral, theological, and disciplinary innovations of The Episcopal Church. We have realigned with another Province of the Anglican Communion. This is a change in affiliation, not a change in worship or doctrine.
KS [But it is a change in churches. You are no longer members of the Episcopal Church.]
Our Bishop, clergy, and congregations have been received into the fellowship of the Anglican Province of the Southern Cone. We are deeply grateful to Archbishop Gregory Venables for this provision, which he has made on a temporary and emergency basis, in response to the crisis in The Episcopal Church. We now look forward to the formation of an Anglican Province in North America.
KS [Jack Iker, now calling himself a bishop of the Southern Cone, has said all along that this is a temporary move. Remember when he distanced himself from the visit to the Roman Catholic bishop and had those four poor priests apologize for the “wording” and the “timing” of the request to move the entire diocese to the Roman Catholic Church…. So who will go to Rome and who will go to this much touted “orthodox Anglican Province in North America? Actually, I don’t much care, now that they are gone. I just hope they find the spiritual home they need. ]
Where we stand.
We remain true to the historic faith and order of the Church.
KS [And so do the members of the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth, in union with the General Convention.]
We remain a member diocese of the Anglican Communion.
We remain the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth. The word “episcopal” identifies us as part of the apostolic succession, with a bishop as our elected chief pastor.
KS [ Now let’s have a grammar lesson. Nouns name people, places, and things. Every noun can further be classified as common or proper. A common noun names general items. A proper noun has two distinctive features: 1) it will name a specific [usually a one-of-a-kind] item, and 2) it will begin with a capital letter no matter where it occurs in a sentence.
Yes, anyone who has a bishop as their chief pastor can call themselves an episcopalian — with a small “e”. That’s a common noun. But Episcopalians with a big “E” — a proper noun — are members of the Episcopal Church. Just like we are all democrats and republicans, but some of us are Democrats and some are Republicans. You’re NOT still Episcopalians because you’ve left the Episcopal Church.]
We expect a number of announcements in the days, weeks, and months ahead. Among these may be plans for a new General Convention-member diocese in this 24-county area. There may be lawsuits testing the ownership of our properties. And action may be taken to remove our Bishop and clergy from their positions in ministry in the General Convention church. But such action will have no practical effect, since they will already be ministering under the authority of another Anglican Province. These developments may generate news headlines, and they may cause some confusion, but they will not prevent us from going forward in mission as a diocese.
KS [There are no plans for a new General Convention diocese. There already is an Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth and we’re it. You are not. We have to get reorganized with new leadership, but the diocese has gone nowhere. The “General Convention Church” happens to be the Episcopal Church, that “mythical church” Jack Iker frequently refers to. I’ll be interested in how mythical it will seem when he’s in court. The Episcopal Church will look out for the interests of Episcopalians in the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth. No one will try to prevent any of you from “going forward in mission” as whatever you want to call yourselves in the Southern Cone. You just have to do with your own property, not ours. And for goodness sakes, come up with a new name for yourselves.]
Read it all here.