Sunday, 9 September 2007

Ft Worth: bishop cross

Updated again Monday evening

The elected President of the House of Deputies of the General Convention of the Episcopal Church is currently a lay person, Bonnie Anderson.

She recently visited Fort Worth Texas, to address a local meeting, co-hosted by the Brite Divinity School and Fort Worth Via Media, neither of which is an official organ of the Diocese of Ft Worth. Indeed, the divinity school is associated with the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), another Christian denomination.

Nevertheless the Bishop of Fort Worth Jack Iker objected to her visit. He issued a press release [PDF file] in which he says:

…“This visit by Mrs. Anderson was arranged without any prior consultation with me or any of the other elected leaders of this diocese. I consider it a breach of protocol and a violation of the basic polity of The Episcopal Church. It is a clear effort on her part to recognize and empower a small group of people who dissent from the stated theological positions of this diocese and who claim that they alone are the true ‘loyal Episcopalians‘ here in Fort Worth.

“This visit by Mrs. Anderson further exacerbates an already tense, adversarial relationship that has developed between national leaders and diocesan officials. Unfortunately, she has sought to further divide the people of this diocese rather than to promote reconciliation. I regret that Mrs. Anderson has chosen to fan the flames of division and to advocate a rather one-sided view of the controversies that have overtaken The Episcopal Church in recent decades. Rather than working with me and other diocesan officials, she has chosen to go around us in a blatant attempt to work with the revisionist opposition known as the Via Media.

“I regard her visit as part of a concerted effort to undermine the existing diocesan leadership in favor of those who support the liberal agenda of the General Convention Church. It is disconcerting to see this deepened alienation fostered by one of the top leaders of The Episcopal Church. However, we will not be deterred or side-tracked from our Gospel mission by this kind of political manipulation.”

Some other recent statements by Bishop Iker can be found here:

The Realignment Moves Forward
Williams ‘set to be manipulated’ George Conger Church of England Newspaper 17 August.

Monday update
It turns out that Bishop Iker was invited to this meeting, and Bishop Iker did not indicate any displeasure over the visit in his note declining the invitation. The exchange of notes between FWVM and the bishop before the event can be read in full here: Bishop Iker is Unhappy.

For links to other blog comments about this event, go here.

Monday afternoon Episcopal News Service has a very detailed report from Mary Frances Schjonberg titled Bonnie Anderson promises support, tells Fort Worth Episcopalians to ‘saddle up’.

Monday evening
Fort Worth Via Media has issued this statement.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Sunday, 9 September 2007 at 3:59pm BST | TrackBack
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Comments

What brass neck that man has! (IF, of course, he said what he is purported to have said.) I'd be very careful in case he has been misrepresented by this --- it sounds so unreasonable. Could it be him? Will Rowan demur ? Will Iker's Archdeacon declare that Iker has been "misrepresented" ? I think We should know.

Just go through the quoted statement replacing 'Mrs Anderson' with 'Bp iker' ---it is quite an instructive (and fun!) exercise, I found.

BTW if you live in his *diocese you are a member / part of AC Network whether you like it or not ! Due process ? .....

* or the nine other dioceses subscribed to the 'Network'.

Posted by: L Roberts on Sunday, 9 September 2007 at 5:03pm BST

If Nigerian bishops are to function in the US surely the President of the House of Deputies may address a public meeting in Fort Worth?

Posted by: Fr. Tony Clavier on Sunday, 9 September 2007 at 5:25pm BST

FW Via Media, for those who don't know, is an Episcopalian group that supports the national church and disapproves of Jack's apparent intent to take the Diocese of Fort Worth out of the Episcopal Church. I believe that Katie Sherrod is a prominent member, and she has a great blog up at http://wildernessgarden.blogspot.com/

I'm really sorry for Jack. how terrible it must feel to be so persecuted by the national Church. :-p

Posted by: Weiwen on Sunday, 9 September 2007 at 6:46pm BST

How apt the poor are to be proud... Honestly, do I have to notify the Diocesan of Fort Worth if I am to vacation or visit relatives living within his jurisdiction? He's already all but declared his independence form TEC - perhaps its time for TEC to pull their boat out of Lake Crazy and set up a mission diocese in the former diocese of Ft. Worth.

Posted by: Fr. Shawn+ on Sunday, 9 September 2007 at 6:51pm BST

Who gave +Jack Leo Iker his miter? The General Convention Church that he now despises. Who will pay +Jack Leo Iker's pension when he finally retires? The Church Pension Fund subject to General Convention supervision. If ++Jack Leo Iker had any honor left, since he despises the General Convention Church, he would return his miter and renounce his orders. Is +Jack Leo Iker an honorable man or a gentleman?

Posted by: John Henry on Sunday, 9 September 2007 at 8:57pm BST

I did some public teaching at a parish in Dallas two years ago. Someone broached the subject of me preaching on Sunday. I said that I would do so only if the rector approached Bishop Stanton and asked for permission on my behalf. The letter of the canon does not require this for a one time visit, either to preach or to preside at a Eucharist, but I'm an Anglo-Catholic and I like to be courteous to bishops.

So long as Bonnie Anderson wasn't preaching or presiding at a service, it's none of the bishop's business. I'm unaware of any requirement of polity that Bonnie Anderson failed to observe. And Bishop Iker's views on Via Media Ft. Worth, along with many other topics, are ludicrous.

Posted by: Bill Carroll on Sunday, 9 September 2007 at 9:31pm BST

My political machinations skills are appalling (I lose track of who is in with whom and if or whether they changed sides or are double agent). This is getting very confusing.

The only thing that does seem to be clear is that one type of camp appears to want a complete communications embargo. Do not talk about our mistakes or debates, especially in public. Do not present the alternative theology in a reasonable manner. Do not countenance fraternizing or speaking civilly about or to "unholy" ones. Do not question whether or not we have exaggerated, hyperbolized, misrepresented, overgeneralised, misconstrued, overlooked, obstructed or just outright lied.

It is a very authoritative approach. It is the "head of the household" bringing order to the family through power of position. There will be no crying in public, there will be no complaints, you will be happy, you will shut up, or you will be on the streets and in hell!

It's not just this one small example. Do a Google news search on "Anglican", there's lots of this kind of evidence showing up. Takes no Einstein to guess where most of it is happening.

Another word of caution, the trait to keep the organization/family running smoothly by affirming the existing principles and paradigms works on one core assumption: that the model is still viable on an ongoing basis. Sorry, but if your farm is about to be swamped by rising sea levels, it doesn't matter how good your farming practices are, they are irrelevant and you would do better to build yourself an ark or go to higher ground.

If we want to end war, tyranny, repression, poverty, famine, disease, abuse - we need to go to higher ground. The old paradigms have kept us in these cycles way too long and there won't be any humans or farms unless we stop squabbling and grow up.

Another thing, if Jesus wants to scatter his seed willy nilly: on rocks, amongst thorn bushes, or on fertile ground: then he had better get used to unexpected conceptions. Males might shoot and run, but the women left behind often conceive and give birth to something new. Humanity needs men who take responsibility for their parental obligations, not men who deny they conceived or reject their children because they cost too much or an embarrassment.

Posted by: Cheryl Clough on Sunday, 9 September 2007 at 11:00pm BST

I recommend plenty of meditation for this bishop and Horlicks or equivalent as a good night time drink.

Posted by: Pluralist on Monday, 10 September 2007 at 12:20am BST

It isn't like Ms Anderson was there to consecrate an alternative Bishop of Fort Worth.

Although that might not be a bad idea.

Posted by: Malcolm+ on Monday, 10 September 2007 at 12:50am BST

I swear, +Iker is becoming impossible to parody...

Posted by: JCF on Monday, 10 September 2007 at 3:40am BST

Haven't you all seen the joke?

He has just taken one of the many diatribes against visiting African bishops and changed the name to say Mrs Robinson!!

The joke's on you.

Posted by: Margaret on Monday, 10 September 2007 at 4:42am BST

I can assure you that Bishop Iker's statements are NOT being misrepresented. The words come from an OFFICIAL statement on FORT WORTH DIOCESAN LETTERHEAD and are published on the website of the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth. You can see the official statement here:

http://www.fwepiscopal.org/news/andersonvisit.pdf

FYI 300 people came to the event, it was an open meeting (all participants were respectful but there were many differing theological opinions represented), there were prayers, but there was NO EUCHARIST (thus no basis for accusing territorial encroachment). Also the event was not held on church property, but was held on a local college campus not affiliated with the Episcopal Church.

Knowledge is power. I was present at the meeting unlike Bishop Iker, and what I have written are the facts.

-Sarah

Posted by: Sarah on Monday, 10 September 2007 at 6:32am BST

Sarah

Thanks for your post and your link. It reminds me of the time I was bantering whilst counting the collections tithes to hear a parishioner comment "Ignore her, she is only attention seeking".

Like the author of your link, I found that what I heard was not acknowledged by others when it precipitated the "Peace In Our Time" paper. http://www.wombatwonderings.org/files/peace_in_our_time_sanitised.pdf


What other souls might not recognise is that Desmond Tutu made much eye contact that time in West Australia's Perth Cathedral that lead to a ground swell denouncement of apartheid and a trust in the African peoples that they could find a peaceful resolution. That front page socialist paper article led to a groundswell across Australia and the world, and we all came to the aid of South Africa.

Don't think that an inside paper on an indiscrepit forum can't change the world. If it is the right paper at the right time it can. We all have the potential to be Shirley Maclaine.

Posted by: Cheryl Clough on Monday, 10 September 2007 at 8:56am BST

'I can assure you that Bishop Iker's statements are NOT being misrepresented. The words come from an OFFICIAL statement on FORT WORTH DIOCESAN LETTERHEAD and are published on the website of the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth. You can see the official statement here:

http://www.fwepiscopal.org/news/andersonvisit.pdf' (Sarah)

Sorry Sarah, my tongue was firmly in my (scouse) cheek when I wrote :--

'What brass neck that man has! (IF, of course, he said what he is purported to have said.) I'd be very careful in case he has been misrepresented by this --- it sounds so unreasonable. Could it be him? Will Rowan demur ? Will Iker's Archdeacon declare that Iker has been "misrepresented" ? I think We should know.'

Sounds like a great meeting. Thank goodness he isnt getting it all his own way.


Posted by: L Roberts@ on Monday, 10 September 2007 at 1:08pm BST

Iker accuses the national Church in the US of something that Essentials did here at our synod in May. Gay issues are NOT on the radar here, we are NOT in any way "liberal" or "revisionist" yet Essentials, of which our last bishop is a founder, began organizing a few years ago with surrepetitious emails behind the new bishop's back, quiet and not so quiet meetings, etc. This necessitated a, for our new very humble bishop, strongly worded pastoral letter that he did NOT support this. They have continued, and this year brought in one of their high mucky mucks for a "meeting" at a local Pentecostal run facility. They got themselves on the news, all the while piously denying that this had anything to do with stirring up the troops before the national GC in June. They shot themselves in the foot, actually, to be stirring up strife in a diocese where their "issues" aren't even on the radar. Beams and motes again, by the look of it.

Posted by: Ford Elms on Monday, 10 September 2007 at 2:13pm BST

Bishop Iker appears to lack any ability to recognize irony. Think of what will happen if he pledges allegience to Nigeria and his Archbishop starts telling him what he can and can't do.

Posted by: Deacon Charlie Perrin on Monday, 10 September 2007 at 3:14pm BST

If Bp Iker will check his constitution and canons, he will find that 'boundary crossings' and 'bishops permission' apply to clergy, not laity. He might be able to stretch that to someone preaching at a service of the Episcopal Church, but clearly not laity invited to speak at meetings - or even services - of other denominations.

Posted by: Robert Leduc on Monday, 10 September 2007 at 4:05pm BST

"If Bp Iker will check his constitution and canons..."

Well that's the problem, isn't it? He's calliing TEC The General Convention Church, indicating his contempt for the church in which he is a bishop, the church whose pension fund will cushion his retirement [How long, O Lord? How long?], so why should canons and constitution mean anything to him?

If he were an honorable man he would resign as bishop and leave TEC [and his orders]. Perhaps he could persuade Dunkin' to do the same ...

Posted by: Cynthia on Monday, 10 September 2007 at 5:59pm BST

"Haven't you all seen the joke? He has just taken one of the many diatribes against visiting African bishops and changed the name to say Mrs Robinson!! The joke's on you."

Margaret: if someone can't tell the difference between a *laywoman making a speech*, and a *bishop crossing a diocesan boundary, unapproved, to perform episcopal acts*---the JOKE is that this person is *any* kind of ANGLICAN.

Episcopalians, as faithful, knowledgable Anglicans, know the difference.

Posted by: JCF on Monday, 10 September 2007 at 7:33pm BST

Again I have to comment on your title --- I thought you saw yourselves as THINKING Anglicans.

You sure hide it well!!!

Posted by: Margaret on Monday, 10 September 2007 at 9:47pm BST

Margaret, if you can't understand the difference between (1) a lay person speaking in a non-Episcopal Church, and (2) a non-TEC Anglican bishop acting in an episcopal manner in a TEC Diocese without the consent of the Episcopal Church, then all hope may be lost for your ability to reason.

Think of it more carefully; how can you equate a lay person speaking outside an Episcopal Church setting with an external Bishop acting in an episcopal capacity without canonical consent?

Your cheap shot denigrating the title of this website, merely because most of the posters to it think that your contention is wholly without merit and way off base, is most puzzling.

Posted by: Jerry Hannon on Tuesday, 11 September 2007 at 12:02am BST

Hi Jerry

Denigrations about the title of this site or its posters are cheap shots that occur at least once per month. Some souls are like Korech, they are simply argumentative and nitpickers. If they can't win on the argument at hand, they hyperbolise to something else, and if that is sprung claim that we can't think.

Apparently, those who refuse to stay in the brainwashing grooves and paradigms are stupid. Actually, I think the stupid ones are those who over-rely on a few key passages and then deny that other passages exist or could be interpreted that way.

When all the flock is running in one direction in mass hysteria, survival often comes to those who do not follow the mainstream and divert to the overlooked exit. Just don't yell too loudly, or they all swap course like a flock and block that route too.

Posted by: Cheryl Clough on Tuesday, 11 September 2007 at 11:23am BST

Spot on, Margaret. What's more, ALL our mothers wear army boots.

Posted by: Lapinbizarre on Tuesday, 11 September 2007 at 12:17pm BST

"I thought you saw yourselves as THINKING Anglicans."

On another board I visit from time to time, the equivalent jibe coming from someone who doesn't like other people disagreeing with them or getting angry at a particular insult is "I thought this was a Christian website". I believe such a response is even given a name. I AM a Thinking Anglican, Margaret, one who thinks enough to know that it is intolerably hypocritical for a bishop in Iker's position to accuse others of something his supporters are manifestly guilty of themselves, especially when the situation he is criticizing is actually quite a reasonable thing, while his supporters are getting up to all kinds of underhandedness. See my above post for details. Sorry, but your hero is a hypocrite whose actions reveal quite clearly the quality of his Christianity. You've gotten yourself in such a frenzy you atually believe it is OK to betray the Gospel in numerous points while defending one arguably minor and debatable aspect of it.

Posted by: Ford Elms on Tuesday, 11 September 2007 at 1:01pm BST

"I thought you saw yourselves as THINKING Anglicans."

" If I'd known how cold it would get, I'd have grown a beard & set fire to it !" :- )

Harpo Marx
***********


Posted by: L Roberts on Tuesday, 11 September 2007 at 3:58pm BST

Lapin

"ALL our mothers wear army boots."

I'd just finished tying up the last shoelace when I opened this thread! LOL. :-)

Ford

Yep. Apparently we are not Christian or evangelical or catholic or godly or forgiven or tolerable.

Depending on the thread, I often just ignore such comments nowadays. Otherwise they can degenerate into a toddler "Are too!" "Are not!" exchange.

The thing I find extremely funny is they purport to want peace, but these are the very strategies and approaches that easily degenerate into bloodshed. Enrage through insults and name calling, strike a blow, throw stones, form a gang, make an army, go to war, drag others into the fight... They are all escalating fractal patterns of that first pathetic toddler exchange.

Posted by: Cheryl Clough on Tuesday, 11 September 2007 at 10:24pm BST

Happy to be of service, Cheryl.

Posted by: Lapinbizarre on Wednesday, 12 September 2007 at 2:19am BST

"Enrage through insults and name calling, strike a blow, throw stones, form a gang, make an army, go to war, drag others into the fight... They are all escalating fractal patterns of that first pathetic toddler exchange."

You left out one part of the pattern: if one's opponents at any point defend themselves against these attacks, one must claim to be oppressed.

Posted by: Ford Elms on Wednesday, 12 September 2007 at 12:39pm BST

Ford

Blush.

Sorry. Your right, the imagery was based on it being two toddler peers squabbling.

I forgot the question of "equal-ness" in the fight. For example, is it a teenage boy slugging it out with his three year old sister? Or is a person in a position of power who has an unfair advantage over the other e.g. parent/child, employer/employee, master/slave, priest/parishioner, ruling caste/outcaste, "in or holy"/rejected or impure, majority/minority, home land/foreigner, citizen/visitor, the masses/voice of conscience.

There are thus a couple of other issues; does one side have more power (physical, material, political, psychological, "in-ness")? In the throwing rocks game one on one between peers might be ugly but is fair, but it becomes unfair if it is 100 to 1 or one's hands are tied.

The latter is relevant to GLBTs whose hands are tied when it comes to making manifest life long monogamous relationships, being good parents, providing for their loved ones even upon death. They are legally hamstrung, which means even if they want to be they can't be good providers. Given legal rights, not all GLBTs will be responsible citizens, but at the moment where they have no rights they have no choice. God knows, there are lots of priests and heterosexuals who are abusive or refuse to be good nurturers and providers.

These very GLBT debates prove there are "holy" people who refuse to nurture those they have deemed as being "unworthy", even if those souls are not part of their daily existence. In that sense, they are a selfish as someone under Apartheid who was blind to the suffering of their servants who lived in the ghettoes and saw little of their own children whilst they commuted or worked for their "rich" masters.

There are two elements of oppression. One element remorselessly deprives others of dignities and rights on spurious pretexts such as skin color, genital formation or ancestry. The other element confounds by advocating for dignity and rights for all, irregardless of skin color, genitalia or ancestry. One element relies on accusations, intimidation and tyranny to retain their "legitimacy" and “divine” entitlements. The other element refutes accusations, exposes intimidation and replaces tyranny with peace, in order that ALL are made legitimate and their divinely entitlements affirmed. It is not a case of one side or the other winning; it is a case of a minority or ALL winning.

Posted by: Cheryl Clough on Wednesday, 12 September 2007 at 10:10pm BST
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