Skip to comments.Fort Worth Episcopal leaders 'opting out'
Posted on 07/26/2006 4:57:32 PM PDT by sionnsar
FORT WORTH - Conservative leaders of the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth have made another move to distance themselves from what they consider the liberal, pro-gay leadership of the national church.
The Diocese's Standing Committee, backed by Bishop Jack Iker, approved a resolution Monday declaring that the 24-county diocese "withdraws its consent" to be a part of Province 7 of the Episcopal Church.
The resolution, which must be ratified by elected delegates at the Nov. 18 convention of the Fort Worth Diocese, is another protest of the Episcopal Church's approval of the openly gay New Hampshire Bishop Gene Robinson and the recent naming of Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, a supporter of gay clergy, as presiding bishop-elect of the church.
If the resolution is carried out, the Fort Worth Diocese, under the U.S. church's constitution, would withdraw from a province that includes all the dioceses in Texas, Arkansas, Oklahoma, New Mexico and Kansas and some in Missouri and Louisiana.
The resolution states, "The Bishop and the Standing Committee believe it is necessary for the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth to dissociate itself from those actions of the 75th General Convention which constitute a decision of the Episcopal Church to walk apart from the Anglican Communion."
Earlier, Iker and the Fort Worth Standing Committee asked Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams for oversight from a bishop other than Schori. Six other dioceses, including the Dallas Diocese, have made similar requests. Williams has said he is studying the requests.
Where does the Fort Worth Diocese go if it leaves Province 7?
"It's hard to say," said Suzanne Gill, a diocesan spokeswoman. "Dioceses cannot be included in a province without consent.
"We are opting out. We have not opted to go anywhere."
Many are calling for the creation of a separate, nongeographical province for conservative Episcopalians, Gill said. The resolution notes that U.S. conservatives have asked for alternative "pastoral and apostolic care to biblically orthodox Anglicans in this country regardless of geographical location."
Barbara Click, a founding member of Fort Worth Via Media, which is working to keep the Fort Worth Diocese within the national Episcopal Church, said she and many other local church members oppose the Standing Committee's resolution.
"First and foremost, the Fort Worth Diocese exists as part of the Episcopal Church. It is not a separate entity," she said. "The diocese can't really leave the Episcopal Church. People can leave, but the diocese still exists."
Gill said the diocesan leadership isn't asking to leave the Episcopal Church but is hoping to be granted more conservative leadership.
George Komechak, president of Via Media, said: "This is just the next step in what Bishop Iker is trying to do. Bishop Iker claims he is still in the Episcopal Church, but everything he is doing is indicating otherwise."
Komechak said he has some doubts about whether the resolution meets legal requirements under the church constitution.
However, he said the resolution, if voted on at the annual meeting, may be approved, because many delegates are selected because they support Iker.
The Roman Catholic Church is getting a lot of converts lately from the Anglican Church.
True. So are the Continuing Anglican, the Orthodox, and a few Protestant churches.
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