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DioFW: Clergy Discussions on Conflict Produce No Solution

Monday, October 13, 2008 • 5:52 pm


Via email:

In late January, I asked 12 of the senior, most respected priests of the Diocese to begin meeting together as a clergy discussion group to assist me in addressing the tensions and conflicts involved in the life of our Diocese as we move toward a Diocesan Convention vote in November to separate from the General Convention of The Episcopal Church. I am sorry to report that after several meetings over the months, they have been unable to agree on any proposed remedy for the divisions that face us.

Canon Hough served as moderator for the discussions. The other participants were the three clerical members of the Standing Committee: Dean Ryan Reed, Fr. Christopher Cantrell and Fr. Thomas Hightower; along with four rectors known to favor continued affiliation with the General Convention and four known to be for realignment. They are Fr. Fred Barber, Fr. Chris Jambor, Fr. Sam McClain, Fr. Bill Stanford, Fr. Bill Crary, Dr. Bill Dickson, Fr. Tim Perkins, and Fr. Stuart Smith. I am deeply grateful to each of them for their willingness to engage in this difficult task.

At the same time as these conversations were going on, a group of diocesan officials from Fort Worth were meeting with our counterparts in the Diocese of Dallas to see if a pastoral agreement could be worked out between our two dioceses, whereby parishes in Fort Worth that wanted to remain in TEC could do so as part of the Dallas Diocese. These meetings included the Bishops, Chancellors, Canons to the Ordinary, and Presidents of the Standing Committees of the two dioceses. We came up with a proposal whereby, under certain conditions, Fort Worth parishes and clergy could have “associate membership” in Dallas, including seat, voice and vote at their Convention, and their property could be placed temporarily in the name of the Corporation of the Episcopal Diocese of Dallas, to be held in trust for their use. 

This plan was then presented to the Rectors, Wardens and Chancellors of five Fort Worth parishes that we thought would like to pursue such an arrangement, at least on a trial basis. They were asked to discuss the proposal with their vestries, and then we would meet a second time for further exploration. Unfortunately, at that second meeting, the Chancellor of Dallas reported on conversations he had initiated with the Presiding Bishop’s Chancellor, David Booth Beers, about the proposal under discussion. Mr. Beers stated that neither the PB nor the General Convention would support such a plan, and without their support, the Fort Worth parishes were unwilling to continue steps to implement the plan.

In the final meeting of the clergy discussion group in September, there was an open and honest exchange of views about where this left us. The differences appear insurmountable.  No minds were changed as a result of these meetings, and no clear solutions were found that the group could propose. Although it was said that no one wants litigation, it appears that the two opposing sides in this controversy are headed in that direction.

Pray, brothers and sisters, for the Church in this time of conflict and tension. May God preserve us from rancor and animosity in the midst of our disagreements and divisions.

The Rt. Rev. Jack Leo Iker
Bishop of Fort Worth
October 13, 2008


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Comments:

So…exactly what voice and vote do either the Presiding Bishop, or the General Convention have, in a decision that would put Fort Worth parishes into the framework of the Diocese of Dallas?

Or perhaps more importantly, who invited DBB to the discussion?

Yours in Christ,
jacob

[1] Posted by Jacobsladder on 10-13-2008 at 05:56 PM • top

To my second question, never mind.

the Chancellor of Dallas reported on conversations he had initiated with the Presiding Bishop’s Chancellor, David Booth Beers

~j

[2] Posted by Jacobsladder on 10-13-2008 at 05:57 PM • top

My question is why he initiated the conversation with DBB?  That was only inviting trouble!

[3] Posted by Cennydd on 10-13-2008 at 06:03 PM • top

Cennydd, were I to guess, I would guess that it was to sabatage the negotiations. After all, who better to ensure that the Fort Worth/Dallas negotiations fail than the one who fell the ADV/Diocese of Virginia talks?

Maybe the Dallas Chancellor is a company man?

Yours in Christ,
jacob

[4] Posted by Jacobsladder on 10-13-2008 at 06:11 PM • top

#3, No,no, no The whole purpose of the Diocese of Dallas is NOT tp make trouble for its leader. Thus, ask 815 and be required to DO NOTHING!!
This is how we got to where we are. The “leadership” of Stanto, Howe, and MacP is the problem, has been the problem and their successors will continue the unbroken tradition of mediocrity.
Nelson Koscheski

[5] Posted by hookemhooker on 10-13-2008 at 06:11 PM • top

Everyone thought that the remaining churches in San Joaquin would have been rounded up by the Northern California Diocese (Sacramento), but it did not happen instead Schori put puppet boy Lamb in place and then all H#@% broke loose soon afterwards! It will be very interesting to see just what 815 aka KJS/DBB, Inc. do in Ft. Worth now!

[6] Posted by TLDillon on 10-13-2008 at 06:27 PM • top

It will be more of the same….with predictable results.

[7] Posted by Cennydd on 10-13-2008 at 06:38 PM • top

Who woulda thunk it?  Pastors trying to come up with a pastoral response…and then a fake and a lawyer have to pee in the post toasties.  No wonder the Grand Old Lady(ECUSA) is going to hell in a handbasket.  November can’t get here soon enough.

BigTex AC

[8] Posted by BigTex AC on 10-13-2008 at 06:40 PM • top

[5] I don’t think Stanton has done that bad of a job, remember what diocese he is bishop of. True it was once a center for orthodoxy…more or less…but after Christ Church Plano left, so did a bunch of other congregations. Not only did it’s financial strength fail, but so did it’s conservative votes at diocesan convention.

If someone who knows more wants to correct me on this, as far as I can tell what we have since a bunch of conservatives left, is a moderate/liberal diocese with a conservative bishop. Without the support of Convention, there is little really that he can do.

Yours in Christ,
jacob

[9] Posted by Jacobsladder on 10-13-2008 at 06:46 PM • top

That certainly is a good crosssection of both sides in this debate!  Noone can say that +Iker set up a sham committee, loaded with his own folks!
It was my understanding that it was a “done deal” between Dallas and Ft. Worth until BeerKat stuck their noses into the situation.  They just can’t stand for anyone to work things out peacefully—it might make people see how Christians are supposed to act!

[10] Posted by Henry on 10-13-2008 at 07:33 PM • top

Before launching into a few caustic remarks, let me express gratitude to the Bishop and clergy of Ft. Worth for trying.  It is unfortunately clear that 815 has no interest in compromise or rationality, and believes it will triumph, having forgotten that the triumph of man or an organization is not the purpose of the church.

I think it is pretty clear, to read the emanations from the errrr….“steering committee” (I think they call themselves) that TEC has a shadow diocese already operating in Fort Worth, just awaiting the bidding of their mistress to call a new bishop and appoint themselves to various positions of influence and prestige the day after the convention, assuming that the convention votes to leave TEC.  Should the diocese confound the “steering committee” (and me for that matter) and vote to stay, the “steering committee” will only have to wait for the good Bishop’s deposition at the spring HoB meeting, at which time one imagines the Standing Committee will also be ousted, ala San Joaquin.

[11] Posted by tjmcmahon on 10-13-2008 at 08:02 PM • top

So, tell me again WHY drank-too-much-Beers and the PB won’t support this arrangement?  Of course, name one peaceful “win-win” situation they HAVE supported.  They are way too sue-happy… 

I am torn about how I feel about Dallas’ handling of this situation.  On the one hand it’s good that the stance of the PB is known - it caused Ft. Worth to change their minds.  On the other hand - is Dallas showing a yellow streak??

[12] Posted by B. Hunter on 10-13-2008 at 08:06 PM • top

#11—You have hit the nail on the head about the  
“Steering Committee”.  They have been working behind the scenes to become the Ft. Worth puppets of TEC.  It is well known that 1 priest, with possibly others, has made several trips to NY to meet with 815.  Also, “purple fever” runs rampant in parts of that group.  I don’t understand why they can’t just admit the fact that they really would be glad to be done with us and just let us go!  We have no desire to force them to follow us or to take their buildings….why does it have to be uglier than it already is?!?!?!?

[13] Posted by Henry on 10-13-2008 at 08:15 PM • top

So, tell me again WHY drank-too-much-Beers and the PB won’t support this arrangement?

B. Hunter- (Sorry, I know you meant that as a rhetorical question, but I still have some steam to blow off). The reason that Mr. Beers and Mrs. Schori refuse to support agreements like this is that it would be an admission on their part that dioceses are independent entities that they do not control via a hierarchy.  And the moment they admit that, their legal cases begin to erode (more than they already have), and suddenly bishops, whether you mean +Jack Iker or Jon Bruno, become leaders they must negotiate with rather than subjects for them to rule over.  Their opinion is that they own every building, pew, chalice and prayer book in the diocese, and that clergy either work for them or are deposed.  There can be no arrangement for oversight of parishes that stay, since (from their point of view) the diocese can never leave as an entity, just a bishop and some clergy who they plan to depose in any case, and maybe 80% of the people in the congregations- but they don’t count since they are not real estate.
  Now the reason I mention Bruno above is, well, just think of a circumstance where 815 were to come to some compromise over the division of church property with a group of conservative Bishops, the sort who take things like apostolic orders and ecclesiology seriously. Leaving TEC is really the last resort for them, something they never contemplated 10 years ago. Imagine the sorts of things that progressive bishops might demand, if they suddenly saw themselves on an equal footing with Mrs. Schori and 815.  You’d have a very loose confederation of 89 “churches of ME” within 48 hours.  And send money to 815, when it could be spent on the Saturnalia, or a new diocesan limo?  Not a chance.

[14] Posted by tjmcmahon on 10-13-2008 at 08:30 PM • top

TEC is no longer a religious institution, but a political one only. For some insight on what that means (as those of us in TEC can attest to), take a look at Michael Barone’s column on “progressives” on the march politically and see if you see any difference in intent, motive, or action with 815. I don’t.

[15] Posted by Branford on 10-13-2008 at 08:34 PM • top

Mr. Beers stated that neither the PB nor the General Convention would support such a plan

  No billable hours.

[16] Posted by Jill Woodliff on 10-13-2008 at 08:45 PM • top

TEC is a POLITICAL MACHINE.

[17] Posted by Cennydd on 10-13-2008 at 08:54 PM • top

Rowan?  Rowwwwwannnn!!  Yoo-Hoo!!  See, the reasserters are more than willing to try that N’daba/let’s-all-just-sit-down-and-talk thing of which you’re so fond.  Things appear to go just fine, until the side that doesn’t really want to talk starts to sabotage the works.

Rowan, do you really still think that all of this will end without a spiritual bloodbath?  Do you even care anymore?

[18] Posted by DeeBee on 10-13-2008 at 08:56 PM • top

If this thread was set to music, it would have to be BB’s Monday night palate cleanser over at the cafe. Greg, maybe if we set some of these threads to music they would better on the stomach late at night. LOL TEC gives me an ulcer or at least acid indigestion. How many days until November?

[19] Posted by Houseownedbythedog3 on 10-13-2008 at 09:04 PM • top

#14TJMCMAHON I with you on that.  Allowing this compromise from BeerKat would be no different from allowing Bp Lee’s deal he cut with the Va. parishes to go through, both create the appearance of compromise and therefore defeat for 815.  BeerKat et. al could never allow such a thing, once the “Chancellor of Dallas” whoever that might be brought them in, the deal was toast.

On another note, I noticed Bp Iker mentioned Fr. Timothy Perkins on the committee, there’s a name I haven’t heard in a long time.  Anybody knows how Fr. Tim is doing, I’d love to catch up with him.

KTF!...mrb

[20] Posted by Mike Bertaut on 10-13-2008 at 09:05 PM • top

The problem with the diocesan structures that +KJS is putting/has put/will put in place in DSJ, Pittsburg, Ft. Worth, and Quincy (and, possibly others) is that they violate the canons.  None of these places will be able to gather a quorum of either clergy or congegations because the clergy have not yet been deposed by the Standing Committee and 815 refuses to recognize any letters dimissory.  Likewise, the congregations still exist, but there is no vestry or rector to appoint members to diocesan convention/council/synod.  Thus, the quorum requirements for a certain percentage of clergy and a certain percentage of congregations/laity will fail.

But that won’t stop the “reoganized” diocese.  It will be interesting when the stuff hits the litigation fan that the “new” dioceses will be shown not to be obeying their own constitution or canons.

Either the diocese and congregations left and TECUSA is right to use extraordinary measures to reconstitute a diocese in that place (even then they are abandoning the C&C;to do this) or they have not left and TECUSA is way out of line in meddling in the existing diocese.

YBIC,
Phil Snyder

[21] Posted by Philip Snyder on 10-13-2008 at 09:10 PM • top

#20 - Fr. Perkins is doing great. Here is a link to his parish website: http://www.stmarksepiscopal.org/

monika

[22] Posted by monika on 10-13-2008 at 09:12 PM • top

As for the diocese of Dallas, we are still largely conservative.  Instead of about a 70/30 split (conservative/liberal) we are now about 60/40.  Losing CCP and St. Matthias and large parts of Resurrection and St. Nicholas hurt the political atmosphere in convention, but the majority of clergy and laity are still on the reasserter side of the line.  Bishop Stanton is trying to be the bishop for all the people in the diocese, not just the reasserters.  He is a good bishop and I am proud to serve under him.

YBIC,
Phil Snyder

[23] Posted by Philip Snyder on 10-13-2008 at 09:15 PM • top

Thanks, Monika!  I’m going to be in the area around Thanksgiving and I’m hoping to catch up with a few old friends.

KTF!...mrb

[24] Posted by Mike Bertaut on 10-13-2008 at 09:18 PM • top

#24 - Mike, I have sent you a PM.

monika

[25] Posted by monika on 10-13-2008 at 09:27 PM • top
[26] Posted by BabyBlue on 10-13-2008 at 09:30 PM • top

TEC is out of control.

[27] Posted by martin5 on 10-13-2008 at 10:26 PM • top

Bishop Stanton is trying to be the bishop for all the people in the diocese, not just the reasserters.

This actually is the problem. He is trying to hold the middle ground.  Either the reasserters are right, or the revisionists are.  They cannot both be right.

As Churchill said: “If you will not fight for right when you can easily win without blood shed; if you will not fight when your victory is sure and not too costly; you may come to the moment when you will have to fight with all the odds against you and only a precarious chance of survival.”

Had he taken a stand before Christ Church left he could have eventually walked out with 70% or more of the diocese.  Now he can only preside over a diocese that shrinks by the day as individuals leave.  I agree that Bp. Stanton is a fine man, an orthodox Christian, a great teacher, and a lot of fun to be around; but he failed to act when it mattered most, and it is probably too late for him to have any impact on the future of Dio Dallas.

[28] Posted by Edwin on 10-13-2008 at 10:49 PM • top

After Christ Church in Plano and Saint Matthias in Dallas left, leaving in a peaceful manner; David “John Wilkes Booth” Beers sent instructions NOT to make any more deals like that.  tjmcmahon #14 above is exactly right.  If the Diocese is the basic unit of the Church, it doesn’t help the cause or the case for a “National Church”.  Folks there is no such animal in this country!  The C of E has a National Church, we do not.  Our Lady of Litigation would like all of us to believe we do.  Don’t buy it.

[29] Posted by Dallas Priest on 10-13-2008 at 11:14 PM • top

Edwin, all due respect, but Bishop Stanton has already had an impact on the future of the Diocese of Dallas by being a good and Godly example for the rest of us.  Just my 2 cents as one of the Bishop’s many admirers.

[30] Posted by RoyIII on 10-13-2008 at 11:21 PM • top

One Day,
I’m not sure who “Everyone” was, but it certainly was not “Everyone.” 
I suppose it still might take place, or parishes going here and there with an assortment of dioceses.  It won’t happen like that for awhile, though, if it does.  And certainly it won’t happen until litigation is tried. And neither will a new bishop be elected until the litigation is completed. If the litigation fails, then Executive Council just might tire of granting 1/2 million dollars per annum, or of finding Province 8 sources to do the same, and then we’re on our own.  Which in reality, would be a far better place to be in regard to “diocese planting”.  That is, it would force the folks here to see that evangelism means the proclamation of the Good News of Jesus Christ and making disciples (or not, to our demise), not regaining access to a church building.
It is so evidently a one-sided approach that cannot in and of itself win converts to Jesus.  Certainly, Francis “reclaimed” a church building, and gained disciples and converts, whom he helped disciple in the faith by “rule.”  One brick at a time in construction.  Not whole sets of facilities reclaimed by further division and ripping.  I don’t know of one historical instance where growing numbers of new converts and inspired disciples gathered inside a trial courtroom while the Church was fighting against each other.

[31] Posted by Rob Eaton+ on 10-14-2008 at 01:02 AM • top

One wonders if the Primates and the ABC will ever notice that Jefferts Schori insists, with them, that she can’t require any diocesan bishop to do anything with respect to permitting same-sex blessings, but she certainly can and does make authoritarian interventions in property disputes.

The sweet-talking from the Pittsburgh TEC will soon be replaced by lawsuits, I predict.  Beers and Jefferts Schori will not permit any reasonable and money-saving solutions.  They insist on wanting the whole thing at whatever cost.

[32] Posted by Katherine on 10-14-2008 at 01:13 AM • top

“everyone” let me re-phrase…The majority of some in San Joaquin and many who were watching and blogging on the situation at the time. But you said above:

And certainly it won’t happen until litigation is tried. And neither will a new bishop be elected until the litigation is completed.

Why in the world must litigation be tried? That is just sad not too mention just plain unchristian. The orthodox have not walked away from the Scriptures and the teaching of the Church world wide. TEc has thus they are the ones that should be looking to go and start their New Thing Church in buildings other than those which have been for the most part of their existence Orthodox and the Gospels preached and taught! Why should the Orthodox be sued?

[33] Posted by TLDillon on 10-14-2008 at 01:31 AM • top

I will pray for clarity for you and your Diocese Bishop Iker
Tom of San Joaquin

[34] Posted by tom on 10-14-2008 at 02:56 AM • top

Not that Beers isn’t correct - but it is interesting that he now speaks for the General Convention too. They no longer have the right or ability to speak for themselves

[35] Posted by Paul PA on 10-14-2008 at 04:50 AM • top

You know something is wrong when some social entity tries to make leaving impossible.  Remember the old Berlin Wall?  Remember the land of Mordor in Tolkien’s epic?  Perhaps you’ll recall that the Tower that Gondor originially build to keep Sauron’s servants out (Minal Ithil, Tower of the Rising Moon) eventually fell into the Dark Lord’s power and was turned into Minas Morgul (Tower of Sorcery), which now served as a prison tower, keeping anyone from fleeing Mordor.

TEC is increasingly acting like East Germany or Mordor.

And what does that tell you about the leaders of TEC??

David Handy+

[36] Posted by New Reformation Advocate on 10-14-2008 at 05:57 AM • top

What Edwin said…

After Christ Church in Plano and Saint Matthias in Dallas left, leaving in a peaceful manner; David “John Wilkes Booth” Beers sent instructions NOT to make any more deals like that

is correct. As a former vestry member of Holy Trinity, Garland, we were next in line after St. Matthias to depart. We had an agreement with the bishop to leave with the property. We, the parish, were then advised that the deal was no longer operable and 175 of 220 (approximate) parishioners walked away to start a new Anglican parish.

What others have suggested is correct. 815 and Beers don’t want amicable separation agreements. They want to reestablish illegitimate entities in the vacuum that results from diocesan realignments.

Go in peace Bishop Iker and the DoFW. You are in our prayers.

[37] Posted by Fisherman on 10-14-2008 at 07:49 AM • top

Bishop Stanton has already had an impact on the future of the Diocese of Dallas by being a good and Godly example for the rest of us.


I agree (and also am one of his many admirers), but unfortunately that is not sufficient to alter the future of the Dio Dallas in the face of an apostate and dictatorial TEC.  At this point there is probably very little he can do but sit and watch it fall apart around him.  Once FW leaves and Common Cause is recognized as an alternative province, that will accelerate.  It’s quite sad.

[38] Posted by Edwin on 10-14-2008 at 08:20 AM • top

#37 Faith Church of Allen/Plano TX was right behind you guys in line and ended up walking away from our property as well.  Stanton et al just quick returning our calls and emails…

[39] Posted by B. Hunter on 10-14-2008 at 08:26 AM • top

Hmmm.  In the “All Is Well” Department, reading these comments, in Dallas alone there are four parishes gone, two with a deal and the next two with people just walking away.  This is being repeated in dioceses all over the nation.

[40] Posted by Katherine on 10-14-2008 at 10:16 AM • top

I pray that we see more statements like this when Bishop Iker finds himself in the same place as my Bishop, John-David Schofield, and Bishop Bob Duncan. This is a great statement by the Church of England Evangelical Council. I just pray daily that Rowan will wake up from the foggy place he seems to be in.

[41] Posted by TLDillon on 10-14-2008 at 10:23 AM • top

I think TEC is pursuing a scorth earth strategy in order to limit their losses to 10% or less.  If they allowed for reasonable peaceful perhaps Christian solutions to take place - more parishes would leave - perhaps more dioceses.  The thought that they represent a Christian church and not any old corporation, political party or activist group does not seem to concern them.  Since I firmly believe the hard left to be evil and parasitic (they usually want things they did not pay for and belong to others) their actions do not suprise me - the fact that it still surprises some number of the posters here does suprise me.  Stop expecting these guys to behave like Christians.

[42] Posted by chips on 10-14-2008 at 01:25 PM • top

Bishop Stanton has already had an impact on the future of the Diocese of Dallas by being a good and Godly example for the rest of us.

Why hasn’t +Stanton commented on + Duncan/+Schofield/Cox’s inhibitions then? I haven’t seen one thing +Stanton has done or said in the last 6 months or so that was anything but towing the TEC party line.

[43] Posted by via orthodoxy on 10-14-2008 at 03:07 PM • top

Bp. Stanton´s theme song:  “Don´t Rock the Boat”.

[44] Posted by Connie Sandlin on 10-14-2008 at 05:06 PM • top

The Church property in Fort Worth was not its to give to the Diocese of Dallas.  Under Texas law, such property belongs to the ECUSA.
Thus, the Dallas Chancellor may have contacted the Presiding Bishop and her Chancellor to see whether this transfer of ECUSA property was ok.
Thou shalt not steal is a teaching to which all in the Episcopal Church and Anglican Communion can agree.  Whether one likes it or not, a judge will eventually rule that all of the Church property in the Diocese of Fort Worth belongs to the ECUSA unless some settlement can be reached.  Then the strength of the convictions of Iker and his follows will be put to the test.  Of course Bishop Iker and his followers do not need the property of the ECUSA to pursue their faith as they see best.  There are many rooms in Fort Worth with folding chairs where they may pursue their faith.

[45] Posted by Samhouston on 10-14-2008 at 08:07 PM • top

Samhouston,
You are awfully sure of yourself I’d say. If I were you I wouldn’t count my little ducks before they hatch! There may be quite a few ugly ducklings in the batch that might make you eat your words.

Unless you know something that the rest of the Anglican world knows nothing of…......?

[46] Posted by TLDillon on 10-14-2008 at 08:12 PM • top

SamHouston, “Narrow is the gate and few will enter” and on the other side of it are many folding chairs.  Thanks and praise be to God for all the faithful people in all those folding chairs and especially for those who are leading them in Spirit and in truth.  I would not return to the General Convention Organization for all the grand buildings, stained glass and padded pews that KJS and her lawyers can acquire in the next 10 years.  They are worth nothing in the absence of the faith of those who built them. 
(If he is a troll apologies to all for taking the bait.)

[47] Posted by BettyLee Payne on 10-14-2008 at 08:38 PM • top

I agree that those are the folding chairs upon which we should be focused.
“Thou shalt not steal” is a Commandment.  And Texas law provides that the Church property in the Diocese of Fort Worth belongs to the ECUSA.  I pray for those who may try to steal the property of the ECUSA because it is the violation of a Commandment of God.

[48] Posted by Samhouston on 10-14-2008 at 08:43 PM • top

Unfortunately, at that second meeting, the Chancellor of Dallas reported on conversations he had initiated with the Presiding Bishop’s Chancellor, David Booth Beers, about the proposal under discussion. Mr. Beers stated that neither the PB nor the General Convention would support such a plan, and without their support, the Fort Worth parishes were unwilling to continue steps to implement the plan.

For the first time in several years I will not be at the Dio. of Dallas convention this year.  The above is part of the reason why.  Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a . . .  :(

[49] Posted by Jill C. on 10-14-2008 at 08:57 PM • top

Why do those who are leaving the Episcopal Church care how the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth will be reorganized?  I pray that both those leaving and staying find comfort in God and the example of his son, Jesus Christ.

[50] Posted by Samhouston on 10-14-2008 at 09:03 PM • top

While I am not sure of the specific language, I believe that when the Diocese of Fort Worth was split off from the Diocese of Dallas, language was incorporated into its constitution and canons that would preclude a “hostile takeover” from the national church, and that was many years ago.  As for what Texas courts will rule, my dear Samhouston, the reality remains that TEC/ECUSA/blah-blah-blah, in legal parlance, is an “unincorporated entity” (until the next GenCon probably) and therefore more of a “confederacy” from which the members (dioceses) may exit simply by revoking their affiliation by a majority vote at a diocesan convention/synod.  The language of TEC/ECUSA has been (until the P-Bess and her flying monkeys have ineffectively argued otherwise) that “all property is held in trust for the diocese” period.  Texas property law will uphold this language.  The deeds to the properties stop at the diocesan bishop’s desk and there is no reason, legal, moral or otherwise that they should be transferred to the chequebook of 815.  Yes, stealing is a sin, which is why 815 should heed the rest of the Anglican Communion’s REPEATED statements and warnings and cease ALL litigation IMMEDIATELY.  It may well be that the bishop, clergy, and people of the Diocese of Fort Worth walk away from their buildings and shake the dust from their feet as they do so, but if they do, it will be an act of gracious generosity, not of moral or legal obligation.  OR they may take heed that the properties are held in trust by the diocese for the members of the diocese’s use, and battle the P-Bess and her legal hyenas in the courts.  Mrs. Schori might do well to remember that Texas is Texas, and that +Jake Leo Iker is a true bishop of the Church and of the Anglican Communion, and a shepherd who will protect his flock from her and her minions.  Were I she, I would stay safe in Manhattan and not venture to cross the Red River.  “Jes’ a friendly warnin’, ma’am.” 

Of course, the other reality is that the 815 crowd are downing “soma” cocktails like the proverbial kool-aid, assuring one another that “the worst is over,” and choosing to ignore/deny the plain fact that the “turn of the tide” has come, and they are sliding not only into irrelevancy but into oblivion, both ecclesial and spiritual.  For this they have my pity and my prayers for their repentance, although I am sure that they would refuse them both.  Choices have consequences, and as the P-Bess dared to invoke a phrase from “Once to Every Man and Nation” last week, she might wish to review all the verses and re-think her choices in the light of the harvest of consequences TEC has reaped thus far.  (Gentle reminder:  closing the churches on the South Dakota Indian reservation is an act of racism.  Repentance for that might be a little more genuine (because it will require deeds as well as words) than the faux-show recently held in Philadelphia a few weeks ago.)  But no, the litigation must go on.  Jesus has a lot to say about religious authorities and their lust for wealth and worldly power; she might want to read those parts of the Gospel as well (instead of the MDG’s) and consider the “mote and beam” verse in particular.  It is always the case that the other person has the “beam” and one’s own poor self the “mote”, but Jesus is pretty clear about those three classic parties of the religious establishment of his own day: scribes, pharisees, hypocrites. wink

“I guess that’s all I’ve got to say about that.”
RNW+

[51] Posted by rwightman+ on 10-14-2008 at 09:57 PM • top

Why do those who are leaving the Episcopal Church care how the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth will be reorganized?  I pray that both those leaving and staying find comfort in God and the example of his son, Jesus Christ.

Are we being naive? Most Christians would feel that amicable separation would be preferable to bitter and hugely wasteful lawsuits which are condemned in no uncertain terms by St Paul (1 Cor 6). Whereas it is patently obvious that Ms Schori and Mr Beers are calling the shots from afar so as to maximize legal fire power.

[52] Posted by robroy on 10-14-2008 at 10:06 PM • top

RNW to PB Schori: “Were I she, I would stay safe in Manhattan and not venture to cross the Red River.  “Jes’ a friendly warnin’, ma’am.” That’s mighty Christian of you.

I don’t think you understand Texas law.  The ECUSA owned the property prior to the transer from Dallas to Fort Worth so any subsequent deed language, while it may give Fort Worth superior title over Dallas, did not divest the ECUSA of its previous ownership.
Actually, in 2007 the California Courts, which follow Texas law when deciding issues of Church property ownership issues, enforced the “trust” language in the Canons and Constitution of the ECUSA.  Get ready.
I was an Episcopalian in the Diocese of Fort Worth long before outsiders like Bishop Iker decided they wanted to leave and will remain so long after they leave.  If they leave, God’s speed, but do not break the Commandment “Thou Shalt Not Steal ” in the process.

Although a “confederacy” may be a good way to describe the sucession of Bishop Iker and his followers, we all know what happened to the confederacy.

[53] Posted by Samhouston on 10-14-2008 at 10:59 PM • top

No, ECUSA only CLAIMED to own the property.  If there is no record of a recorded trust deed or a grant deed for any of that property, an “implied trust” as a fiduciary responsibility is worthless.  It only means that TEC ASSUMES that they have ownership of the properties.  If TEC actually DOES have the grant deeds or trust deeds which are registered in the name of The Episcopal Church, or more properly the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America, then they could prove legal ownership.  The Dennis Canon isn’t worth the paper it’s printed on, since it only declares that the Church ASSUMED that they own the properties because there was no objection made to it (the Dennis Canon) at the General Convention when it was supposedly “passed.”  Just MY opinion, of course!

[54] Posted by Cennydd on 10-15-2008 at 12:16 AM • top

Oh come on SamHouston - at best ownership of the property is diputed - and in doubt. To call it stealing which could well be libel - is a huge stretch. I am a real estate lawyer in Texas - I have no idea how Texas Courts will rule on this - but am very interested in it.  But to say that Texas law says it belongs to ECUSA is simply not true. The deeds are not in the national church’s name for certain - the Dennis Cannon came into effect after most of the churhes existed. This is a very interesting case and will likely make it to the Texas Supreme Court. This is why we have civil courts - to determine tough questions where the law is not clear.  If it was stealing it would be a matter for the Tarrant County district attorney - I have yet to hear any prosecutor take action agsinst any departing churches in any state in the country.  That is what happens when there is stealing involved.

[55] Posted by chips on 10-15-2008 at 03:16 PM • top

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