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:
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’.
Fort Worth Via Media has issued this statement.