Wednesday, 16 May 2007

Fort Worth reaffirms pursuit of APO

Updated Thursday

The Diocese of Fort Worth has issued this announcement as a PDF:

FORT WORTH, Texas – The Executive Council of the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth has adopted a statement of the diocesan Standing Committee calling for the diocese to move forward with its appeal for Alternative Primatial Oversight (APO).

The Bishop and Standing Committee of the diocese first appealed for APO at the General Convention in June 2006. That appeal was endorsed by the diocesan Executive Council in September 2006 and by the Diocesan Convention in November 2006. The Bishop and diocese remain firmly convinced of the need for alternative oversight; therefore, the Standing Committee, meeting Monday, May 14, adopted the following statement as an assessment of the current situation and a proposal to actively pursue all viable options. It was adopted by the Executive Council in its regular bimonthly meeting. The mood of the council was both thoughtful and sad, yet it was considered prudent to “explore the possibilities and count the costs.” According to the Constitution of the diocese, the Executive Council “exercises the powers of the Convention between meetings thereof.”

The full text of the statement mentioned above is copied here below the fold.

Update
There are two stories in The Times about this:
Anglican diocese defects over gays and the earlier Anglican diocese defects over gays (scroll down).
The Living Church reported it as Ft. Worth: Options Include Oversight Outside Episcopal Church.
See also what Episcopal Café and Preludium have to say about this.

Update Thursday
Episcopal News Service has a report FORT WORTH: Diocese renews its oversight request, proposes new structures.

Where are we with the appeal for Alternative Primatial Oversight?

When the Diocese of Fort Worth first appealed for APO at the General Convention in June 2006, it was hoped that a special pastoral relationship could be established with an orthodox primate, in the interest of preserving unity and fostering mission, in the face of an impaired relationship with the newly elected Presiding Bishop. The original appeal was made in good faith and was directed to the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Primates of the Communion and the Panel of Reference. (Subsequently, it was decided not to approach the Panel of Reference about this in light of other pressing cases already before it.)

As seven other dioceses made similar appeals during the course of the summer, it was agreed to combine them into one appeal, asking the Archbishop of Canterbury to appoint a commissary who would act on his behalf, providing a special primatial relationship with the appellant dioceses. He arranged a summit in New York in September with interested parties to discuss the matter in an attempt to come up with “an American solution to an American problem.” This meeting failed to reach an agreement, with the B-elect claiming that she has no primatial oversight of TEC dioceses and cannot therefore give to another what she does not have. Subsequently, representatives from the appellant dioceses met in November with the steering committee of the Global South Primates to present their requests for APO. This meeting ended with the assurance that they would respond with a plan to address the expressed needs of the appellant dioceses.

On November 18, 2006, the Fort Worth Diocesan Convention voted overwhelmingly in support of the APO request that the Bishop and Standing Committee had made in June. A second New York meeting was held later that month, but none of the appellant bishops attended because no proposal had been made for discussion. This meeting ended with the Presiding Bishop offering a plan for a Primatial Vicar, to be appointed by her and be accountable to her. The appellant bishops rejected the proposal as unacceptable.

The APO requests were presented to the Primates Meeting in Dar es Salaam in February 2007. At the conclusion of the meeting, a Communiqué was issued that proposed the establishment of a Pastoral Council, which would oversee the ministry of a Primatial Vicar, to be selected by the Windsor Bishops coalition and be accountable to the Council. This plan was rejected by the House of Bishops at their March meeting at Camp Allen even though their approval was not sought. Nothing further has been heard about this from the Archbishop of Canterbury.

Every attempt to find “an American solution to an American problem” has failed. Following the two meetings in New York and the House of Bishops’ rejection of the Primates’ proposed Pastoral Council at their March meeting, it now seems clear that there is no desire on the part of the present TEC leadership to provide an acceptable form of Alternative Primatial Oversight within The Episcopal Church.

The Presiding Bishop of this church has refused to accept the key recommendations of the Windsor Report, has failed to seek implementation of the essential requests of the Dar es Salaam Communiqué, and has denied basic tenets of the teaching of the New Testament. By her statements and actions, the course she wishes to pursue is clear: to lead TEC to walk apart from the Anglican Communion. This is a course we cannot follow. For all these reasons and others, we do not wish to be affiliated with her, nor with anyone she may appoint or designate to act on her behalf.

So where does this leave the Diocese of Fort Worth’s appeal for APO?

While we remain open to the possibility of negotiation and some form of acceptable settlement with TEC, it appears that our only option is to seek APO elsewhere. This may entail a cooperative effort with other appellant dioceses in consultation with Primates of the Anglican Communion, to form a new Anglican Province of the Communion in North America. A second possibility would be for the diocese to transfer to another existing Province of the Anglican Communion. Athird possibility would be to seek the status of an extra-provincial diocese, under the authority of the Archbishop of Canterbury, as presently recognized in several other cases.

We believe that we must now explore these possibilities.

The Bishop and the Standing Committee of The Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth
May 14, 2007

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Comments

"pastoral relationship could be established with an orthodox primate, in the interest of preserving unity "

Ha! Don't they know that unity means they should stick with what they've been given?!

Posted by: Tim on Thursday, 17 May 2007 at 1:42am BST

Well, this is interesting, if not terribly surprising. While others may have looked north and east, Fort Worth is the diocese I would first have expected to make this statement. After all, their statement about "not bothering" the Panel of reference ignores the fact that the Panel did address an earlier concern, said that the current structure should be acceptable, and failed to discredit the Episcopal Church.

And to now their Executive Committee sees three possibilities: to form a new province with like-minded dioceses within North America; to establish independently a relationship with another province; or an extra-provincial relationship with Canterbury. Well, there are Global South bishops aplenty who might accommodate them.

That raises the question, though, of what they are prepared to give up. They will not give up independence of the structures of the Episcopal Church; so, what will they give up? What does it mean for a diocese to try to leave the Episcopal Church? (Forego for the moment the statement, "People can leave the Church, but the Diocese can't leave the Church:" I agree, but if enough people walk at the same time it's a meaningful event.) What will Fort Worth, or any other diocese, give up to leave the Episcopal Church?

Posted by: Marshall Scott on Thursday, 17 May 2007 at 2:35am BST

Reads as if Fort Worth is laying a defensive groundwork for trying to leave off, lock and stock and barrel, being a duly consituted diocese of TEC. Few other constructions of the contexts and direction make sense.

They will not be taking their women priests with them, of course.

Posted by: drdanfee on Thursday, 17 May 2007 at 2:44am BST

Bishop Iker has quite the flair for the ridiculous...it's a Texas kinda thingie and has to do with oversized hats being worn on small minded buckaroos.

Posted by: Leonardo Ricardo on Thursday, 17 May 2007 at 4:16am BST

"The Presiding Bishop of this church . . . has denied basic tenets of the teaching of the New Testament."

FW continues to go w/ the "Repeat the BIG LIE ad nauseum!" technique I see. :-/

Posted by: JCF on Thursday, 17 May 2007 at 7:06am BST

As far as I know, that diocese doesn't allow women priests.

Posted by: Paul Davison on Thursday, 17 May 2007 at 11:49am BST

David Hackett Fischer in "albion's seed" tracks regional American cultural differences from their origins quite convincingly - his "roundup" (to follow the western analogy) illustrates the confrontational nature of Southern and much of Western USA culture which was derived from border UK culture including high allegiance to clans - the US "War between the States" and present attitudes in Iraq etc can be viewed profitably through this lens - it explains much - Also as you may not be aware Bp. Iker of Texas has discouraged -?prohibited- his clergy from praying for PB Schori in the Prayers of the people!! Sad when a church refuses to pray for others!!

Posted by: ettu on Thursday, 17 May 2007 at 12:45pm BST

"Also as you may not be aware Bp. Iker of Texas has discouraged -prohibited- his clergy from praying for PB Schori in the Prayers of the people!! Sad when a church refuses to pray for others!!"

In my very liberal New York parish, George W. Bush is about as popular as cancer. However, we grit our teeth and pray for "George, our President" every Sunday.

I suppose Iker and followers in Ft. Worth can't bring themselves to pray for "The Devil's Ho" as our Presiding Bishop is known on the ConsEv blogs.

Posted by: counterlight on Thursday, 17 May 2007 at 1:34pm BST

As an addendum, I am quite certain that WO is verboten in Fort Worth - there is a rather circuitous - some would say tortuous or tortured- alternative pathway requiring women to semi-transfer to an adjoining diocese as far as I am aware - it sounds like lip service to the concept - as as aside and on a rare personal note I confess that I may be distantly related to BP Iker - in any event I have no plans to contact him to compare ancestors!!!!!!

Posted by: ettu on Thursday, 17 May 2007 at 1:34pm BST

That +Iker and his little posse have been allowed to run their diocese in opposition to most others in TEC should quench any arguments about TEC being tolerant about dissenting views.

Their existence is the greatest undoing of their cause.

Posted by: choirboyfromhell on Thursday, 17 May 2007 at 2:38pm BST

Bp. Iker has never forbidden prayers for the Presiding Bishop. Trinity, St. Christopher's, and St. Martin-in-the-Fields all pray for her on a weekly basis without fear because Bp Iker never made the statement.

Posted by: terry from fw on Thursday, 17 May 2007 at 3:13pm BST

Please note my comment was that Bp Iker discourages and ? prohibited prayers for PB Schori - I am relieved if he did not actually prohibit them tho the discouragement has been effective I believe in most of his area - what is the work on WO - do my statements stand on that important point?

Posted by: ettu on Thursday, 17 May 2007 at 3:36pm BST

Terry,

According to a letter dated July 7, 2006 from Fort Worth Via Media, Bp. Iker did indeed instruct his clergy to not include Bp. Katharine in the Prayers of the People:

http://www.fwviamedia.org/letters.html

Posted by: Jake on Thursday, 17 May 2007 at 6:12pm BST

Wow!! Jake!! I was about to post a link to your blog -probably the above link - was I surprised to see you beat me to it - thanks for validating my initial comment

Posted by: ettu on Thursday, 17 May 2007 at 7:21pm BST

Jake, ettu ... the story that Jack Iker forbade his clergy to pray for KJS is false. It is correct to say as you do that the via media group in Forth Worth reports it as being true, but an inquiry to the diocese or any number of parishes will show this story to be apocryphal.

It is true that a number of Fort Worth parishes use Rite II of the 1928 Eucharist and a number of prayers of the people in that service do not include prayers for the presiding bishop by name. But as a point of fact ... Bishop Iker did not forbid his clergy at the clergy conference held after the 2006 General Convention to pray for the Presiding Bishop in the prayers of the people. He has not forbidden his clergy at any time from praying for the Presiding Bishop in the prayers of the people. Chances are this Sunday you will find a number of parishes in the diocese of Fort Worth including the Presiding Bishop in the prayers of the people (if the liturgy provides for such)....

The charge leveled by the via media group doesn't stand up.

Posted by: George Conger on Friday, 18 May 2007 at 3:12pm BST

"Rite II of the 1928 Eucharist"-

????????

I always thought singular version of Holy Communion began on page 67, and that prayers for the state of the Church were not commonly referred to as the "prayers for the people".

Then again, some parishes have been using missals as per permission from their bishops. Guess this low-churchman is missing something.

Posted by: choirboyfromhell on Friday, 18 May 2007 at 4:49pm BST

Surely, the Fort Worth Via media must know about the Rites being used in their own diocese?

Posted by: Göran Koch-Swahne on Friday, 18 May 2007 at 5:11pm BST

"The charge leveled by the via media group doesn't stand up." G. Conger


How do you know?

Posted by: Leonardo Ricardo on Saturday, 19 May 2007 at 7:03pm BST

As far as I know, and I have been a member of the Fort Worth Diocese all my life, there is ONLY 1 church in the Diocese that uses the 1928 Prayer Book, Saint Andrew's, Downtown Fort Worth. That parish also uses the 1940 Hymnal. I've been to most of the Churches in the diocese at one time or another, and they ALL (except St. Andrew's) use the 1979 Book of Common Prayer. I also recall hearing that Saint Timothy's may also use a different, more ancient RITE, but I have never been there, so I'm not sure, but it IS NOT IN THE MAINSTREAM in Fort Worth to use a different Rite. There are 55 Churches in the Diocese of Fort Worth.

Did G. Conger go to any of these clergy gatherings where praying for Bishop Katherine Jefferts Schori could have been discussed? If so, then we know his statements are true, but if not, his accusations are also just speculation.

I believe there is WAY TOO MUCH SPECULATION in most of these arguments to really know the "truth" about EXACTLY what a person says or thinks or feels unless one READS THE ACTUAL STATEMENTS OF THE DIOCESE AND ESSAYS AND ARTICLES ACTUALLY WRITTEN BY THE PEOPLE CONCERNED.

Some of the ACTUAL statements made "officially" by the Diocese of Fort Worth, including the latest APO document are ABSOLUTELY RIDICULOUS, and have to be read to be believed!

There is one Church in Fort Worth that left the Episcopal Church to join the Roman Catholic Church MANY years ago, St. Mary's. It would make sense that this Church, now a Catholic Church, would use a missal. However, this church is NO LONGER part of the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth.

In the Book of Common Prayer the 1928 version, THERE IS NO RITE 2! There is ONLY ONE EUCHARISTIC RITE in the 1928 Prayer Book, period. I know of at least 3 churches in the Diocese that pray at least weekly for the Presiding Bishop in the Prayers of the People. We did have at my local church a Deacon who would not recite the Prayers of the People because Bishop Katherine was included on the written prayer list (she never said this was the reason, I just realized that she read the Prayers of the People up until Bishop Katharine's election, and the next week she read them without Bishop Katharine's name, then the next week and each succeeding week thereafter a lay person read the prayers with Bishop Katharine's name inserted).
I hope this clears things up a little for those of you on the outside.

NO MATTER HOW YOU BELIEVE, the Episcopal Diocese in Fort Worth NEEDS YOUR PRAYERS DESPERATELY. Please remember us!

Sarah

Posted by: Sarah on Tuesday, 29 May 2007 at 4:16am BST

Some new info from those in Ft Worth committed to staying with TEC.
The rector of Trinity Church, Fort Worth, responds to the Standing Committee of the Diocese of Fort Worth. http://www.fortworthtrinity.org/sermons/REMAIN_AND_WITNESS_Paper_to_Stand_Comm.pdf
Also Bp. Stanton of Dallas has put all ordinations on hold which voids the so-called Dallas plan touted by the Panel of Reference.

Posted by: Ann on Tuesday, 29 May 2007 at 3:10pm BST

I am in the Diocese of Fort Worth. I can say that various parishes certainly have their own policy about the Prayers of the People. The parish I attend now (All Saints') has always included Frank Griswold or Katharine Jefferts-Schori (depending on who was Presiding Bishop) by name in the Prayers of the People, if the form we were using provided for such.

I left the cathedral (the closest parish to my home) for several reasons. I really felt like they expected everyone in the parish to be pro-ACN and pro-AAC, and they DID refuse to pray for the Presiding Bishop. I did not care to be a part of the Network "campaign," and I thought that refusing to pray for the PB was wrong.

We have NO excuse to exclude prayers for the Presiding Bishop or our own bishop, whether we agree or disagree with them. Jesus said pray for our enemies. Regardless of where anyone stands on this issue, we are to pray for others.

Posted by: Doni M on Thursday, 31 May 2007 at 10:27pm BST
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