Thinking Anglicans

lawsuit filed in Ft Worth

Updated 24 April

Episcopal Café reports that:

On Tuesday, April 14, 2009, the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth, the Corporation of the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth and the Episcopal Church filed suit in 141st District Court of Tarrant County, Texas in part to recover property and assets of the Episcopal Church. The defendants are former members of the corporation’s board and the former bishop of the diocese, all of whom have left the Episcopal Church.

For the diocesan press release, and a statement by the Presiding Bishop, go here.

For the Pastoral Letter from the Provisional Bishop, see this, or there is a PDF copy here.

To read the petition filed in court, as a PDF, go over here. (1.1 Mb)

The story has been reported by the Fort Worth Star-Telegram as National Episcopal Church sues Fort Worth group over split.

And in the Dallas Morning News it is described as Episcopal Church sues to regain control of Fort Worth-area buildings held by breakaway group.

24 April update

A news report of this event appeared yesterday at the website of the defendants, see Lawsuit served on the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth. The earlier comment made by Bishop Iker is here.


  • Father Ron Smith says:

    I guess this latest legislative measure designed to restore the property of TEC to its rightful owners – the parent Church – could be compared to what might be a similar situation if constituent parishes and diocese in the GAFCON Churches were to decide to leave their parent Church in order to pursue what they saw as a more ‘Christian Way’ than that practised in their home churches.

    Would the Archbishops of Nigeria, Kenya or Southern Cone, for instance, not fight for the property on behalf of their own constituency, against the claims of dissidents from their own hierarchical rule? I think they would do the same as TEC is having to do in Virginia and other places to maintain the integrity of an inheritance gifted by past generations of the Episcopal Church.

    Of course the lawyers are the greatest benficiaries. But if the dissidents had not taken things into their own hands – with the connivance of outside conservative church leaders, then the whole situation might have been very different.

  • MJ says:

    Father Ron Smith: “Would the Archbishops of Nigeria, Kenya or Southern Cone, for instance, not fight for the property on behalf of their own constituency…”

    Of course they would. We have the hypocritical sight of Nigeria cheering their CANA buddies on to steal property when their very own constitution is filled with legalese regarding their ownership of property, such as:

    “55: With effect from the registration of the Trustees under the Companies and Allied Matters Act, 1990, all property of the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion), movable or immovable, real or personal, shall become vested in the Registered Trustees of the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) for and on behalf of the General Synod.”

    “64: The General Synod shall frame such Regulations as may be necessary from time to time for the management of property held in trust for the Church of Nigeria and shall have full power
    and authority to determine in what manner, and upon what conditions such property shall be used or occupied…”

    And on and on.

  • drdanfee says:

    Would someone more informed about Texas state law weigh in, about legalities?

    Meanwhile, I cannot help but suspect that Iker and Company – given their attitudes and practices concerning women – might feel particularly galled and challenged to be sued by the continuing TEC diocese whose chancellor is now a woman.

    Why is it that women can be found picking up the sharp edged pieces, after the self-regarding Males First Leaders have shattered us and polarized us yet again? A fine witness for Texas, then, a state that surely has its own polarization spells and toxins boiling.

    Prayers and best wishes for a sane and peaceful resolution of these hot button differences, including the success of the pending continuing TEC diocesan law suit, and the further moving along of the exiting dissenter consevos ‘Anglicans’ who pride themselves on no longer being ‘Episcopalians’ while hanging on to the seal, the properties, probably some money banked around somewhere, and the national church Name Brand.

    Iker is teaching lessons he does not want us to learn, nor understand.

  • Cynthia Gilliatt says:

    There are legal developments in Pittsburgh – see Episcopal Cafe.

  • Jim Naughton says:

    I can’t speak to existing Texas law, but I do know that Iker’s ideological allies in the Diocese of Dallas are uncomfortable with it, and trying to change it so they will be able to keep their property should they decide to bolt. The current draft of this legislation does not contain a grandfather clause, so it won’t help Iker.

  • Dallas Bob says:

    Father Ron Smith is right on. The dissidents are the cause of this mess. They are the arsonists who set fire to the house and who then complain about the costs of funding the fire department.

    One thing I do know from personal experience. The remaining faithful Episcopalians in Fort Worth who have suffered for so many years under ex-bishop Iker are extremely well organized, highly motivated, and will not back down. We in Dallas could learn a lot from them.

    Don’t bet against them prevailing.

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