Bishop Iker writes to the Presiding Bishop concerning her letter to Archbishop Venables

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesCono Sur [formerly Southern Cone]Episcopal Church (TEC)Presiding Bishop TEC BishopsTEC Conflicts

Posted April 30, 2008 at 3:25 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

1. Steven in Falls Church wrote:

The ABC is copied on the letter.  Wanna bet the copy is put in the Lambeth round file?

April 30, 3:37 pm | [comment link]
2. Harry Edmon wrote:

I especially enjoyed the salutation at the end - “Faithful in Christ”.  None of the usual relationship words like “Your Brother in Christ”.  Bishop Iker gets it - the relationship is broken and is it bearing false witness to claim otherwise.

April 30, 3:50 pm | [comment link]
3. RomeAnglican wrote:

I liked his choice of pronouns when speaking of bishops.

April 30, 3:57 pm | [comment link]
4. Henry wrote:

Thank-you once again, Bishop Iker, for your strong stand!  I’m looking forward to Saturday’s meeting with ++Venables!

April 30, 4:10 pm | [comment link]
5. Intercessor wrote:

I suspect that Mrs. Schori fully expected and is enjoying the piqued response from Bp Iker. It can be likened to a Susan Russell flyby.

April 30, 4:16 pm | [comment link]
6. David Keller wrote:

In reading this, I was reminded of Harry Truman in 1948.  When someone yelled “Give ‘em hell, Harry” to him at a campaign stop he shouted back, “I don’t give ‘em hell.  I just tell the truth and think it’s hell”.  Intercessor is probably right, but it made me feel better.

April 30, 4:19 pm | [comment link]
7. 0hKay wrote:

Iker-Stryker! The Stryker is a family of eight-wheeled all-wheel-drive armored combat vehicles produced by General Dynamics Combat Systems. Hoo-ah!

April 30, 4:23 pm | [comment link]
8. Milton wrote:

#7 +Iker doesn’t sound piqued to me.  Instead he is calling a spade a spade publicly and punching needed holes in KJS’ hot air ballon, lest she or any readers think he or any believers are cowed into silent agreement with her deluded rantings.

April 30, 4:28 pm | [comment link]
9. Dan Crawford wrote:

Every day Mrs. Schori’s behavior causes her to step into deeper and deeper piles, and one begins to wonder whether she has any sense of smell.

April 30, 4:43 pm | [comment link]
10. The_Archer_of_the_Forest wrote:

Is it just me, or does no one in the hierarchy of this church write private letters anymore?

April 30, 4:52 pm | [comment link]
11. young joe from old oc wrote:

The gauntlet is thrown down.  So be it.  But is this the best way to publicly announce it?

I’m not sure that I have any business commenting on this letter at all, but it does feel a little too personal to be made public.  I completely agree with every jot and tittle of it, and even respect Bp. Iker a little more for sending it if it was originally intended for the PBs eyes only.  However, it seems to me that those of us who are fully in the Body of Christ and the orthodox catholic Faith, and who know the depths of the grace of God by experience, have to make every effort to demonstrate to those who are newly in Christ and His Church, and to those like the PB who are outside the Faith, that we are ultimately above 815’s puerile foolishness and our primary concern is to challenge, by prayer and the spiritual armour that is in Christ and the ancient disciplines of the Church, the satanic forces that darken the minds of the progressivists. We must always demonstrate that our souls are not weighed down by the silly hypocritical legalistic challenges that the progressivists throw at us, but that our hearts are sometimes made heavy by the demonic torments that they bring to themselves and those who follow them, and by the confusion that they and those who cooperate with them have released into all of episcopalianism. 

Maybe Bp. Iker didn’t intend that this go public, but whoever did needs to be aware that every little thing matters.  For generations, most theologically orthodox American Anglo-Catholic and Evangelical Anglicans have not taken that one little truth seriously and our failure to properly acknowledge and respect, and build bonds of affection with, each other is one of the reasons that broad church and old school liberals, many once orthodox, were able to draw many episcopalians into the muddy middle that would become a very fertile breeding ground for progressivism and apostasy, and make room for private orgies of religious innovation that are now the norm.  It happened within our purview and right under our noses, but we, like the liberals, were all too focused on our right to practice our particular Anglican sub-traditions according to OUR local standards and OUR particular interpretations of Scripture. 

I guess that since I know that Bp. Iker knows the Church Fathers and the ancient canons and councils so deeply, I want to hear him drawing on their wisdom and following their example every time he speaks.

April 30, 4:57 pm | [comment link]
12. David Keller wrote:

I believe you may be missing the point that Kate’s letter was sent out to the whole world before it was sent to Bp. Greg—if it were even sent to him at all.  Bp. Iker didn’t throw down the gauntlet, he picked it up.  Now we get to have a joust.  So, who will be wearing Gospel armor at the duel?  Note to Bp. Iker—there are a lot of us who will be gald to be your seconds.

April 30, 5:03 pm | [comment link]
13. the roman wrote:

Would anyone please direct me to the letter the PB sent to AB Venables?

April 30, 5:04 pm | [comment link]
14. David Keller wrote:

Roman—It’s on Stand Firm, just below the picture of the guy with the pipe.

April 30, 5:07 pm | [comment link]
15. samh wrote:

For those who might find Bp. Iker’s words on the harsh side, or even inappropriate for a public letter: he was simply using the same terminology that the PB used in hers.  Here’s a summary from the ENS:

[Episcopal News Service] Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori has advised Southern Cone Presiding Bishop Gregory J. Venables in an April 29 letter that his planned May 2-3 visit to address a special convocation of the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth ( “with the expressed purpose of describing removal to the Province of the Southern Cone is an unwarranted invasion of, and meddling in, the internal affairs of this Province.”

“I write to urge you not to bring further discord into The Episcopal Church,” Jefferts Schori told Venables, who was, according to reports, scheduled to be in Central California on April 29 to meet with church leaders who last year voted to disaffiliate with the Episcopal Church and align with his Argentina-based province.

“The actions contemplated by some leaders in Forth Worth are profoundly uncanonical,” Jefferts Schori wrote. “They also prevent needed reconciliation from proceeding within this Province.”

Full story:

- - - - -
I thought that until recently, the PB was not recognized as a “primate” and did not take the title “Most Reverend” - anybody know if this is an official change documented somewhere?  It’s funny to me that she uses her standing as “primate” to exercise control, but then implies to other primates that she’s “just a bishop” who has no say in what goes on in any diocese at these meetings.  Hello?

April 30, 5:12 pm | [comment link]
16. Bernini wrote:

Where might I find the +KJS letter to which the +Iker letter responds?

April 30, 5:15 pm | [comment link]
17. Bernini wrote:


April 30, 5:15 pm | [comment link]
18. RalphM wrote:

Amazing - Episcobabble is giving way to plain language and it’s becoming apparent that the PB is becoming a little concerned about that “tiny minority” who won’t march in goose step.

April 30, 5:38 pm | [comment link]
19. young joe from old oc wrote:

David Keller and Samh:
I have not been an Episcopalian for very long (about 2 1/2 years), so I may have missed some symbolic or coded language within the ArchPresider’s letter to Archbishop Venables that constituted a direct public challenge to Bp. Iker to which he needed to respond in kind.  However, there are a couple of traditional principles that do not directly derive from Scripture but are nevertheless based in ancient Judaeo-Christian wisdom and are applicable to this situation: 1) two wrongs don’t make a right, and 2) discretion is the better part of valor.

Your last observation regarding the PBs primatial self-identification and erstwhile authority is an excellent one, and I think one we should follow very carefully to anticipate what her next moves may be.

David Keller:
The fidelity and loyalty that you express in your last sentence in #12 is to be commended.  I pray that we all will be willing to go to the wall to resist the spiritual decay and false teaching that will continue to lay siege to the perimeters of every single truly orthodox parish that remains in or leaves the episcopal denomination.  However, I believe that the power to resist must be constantly shored-up with self-examination, confession, and looking to those who have gone before in God’s power to fight these battles.

The time has come for all of us to fight and accept the persecution that will ensue.  I’m afraid many episcopalians who are otherwise faithful have been blinded to this reality.  And they will continue in their “niceness” to make deals with those who are on the path of spiritual death.  But this is not what I’m suggesting at all.  Please don’t misunderstand me - while we disagree on whether this letter serves as it should in the battle, I accept that the war that must be waged is already underway.  I am simply convinced that every opportunity to bring the word of God and the wisdom of the Fathers and saints must be taken to challenge and undermine the opposition.

April 30, 5:46 pm | [comment link]
20. Chris wrote:

surely the PB knows she has no standing in this matter, so why does she bother? it only serves to underscore the relative little she can do about the Bishops and their actions. does she have some sort of cheering section on the HoB/D list over this?  I’m just baffled that someone has concluded this is worth her time.

And how much longer will +++ABC remain silent in these matters?  He too knows full well she is acting like a troublemaker and little else…

April 30, 5:52 pm | [comment link]
21. Grandmother wrote:

Well, according to ++Venables, a “spade” is not necessarily a “spade”, he says its a “mucky shovel”... LOL

Gloria in SC

April 30, 6:17 pm | [comment link]
22. William Witt wrote:

I guess that since I know that Bp. Iker knows the Church Fathers and the ancient canons and councils so deeply, I want to hear him drawing on their wisdom and following their example every time he speaks.

Some possible patristic precedents that Bp. Iker might keep in mind when he responds to Presiding Bishop Jefferts Schori: 1) Athanasius’s temperate comments in <em>Contra Arianos</iem>. 2) Cyril of Alexandria’s gentle correction of his fellow patriarch, Bishop Nestorius.

April 30, 6:22 pm | [comment link]
23. robroy wrote:

The letter of KJS to ++Venables is here.  Really an amazing and wonderfully lucid and forceful letter. Contrast this with the Griswoldian fare.

April 30, 6:39 pm | [comment link]
24. Cennydd wrote:

When you walk into a swamp without a guide, you get stuck…...and that’s what happened to KJS.  The difference, though, is that the “swamp” is one of the revisionists’ own making!  A dark and muddy ground of vast proportions with many sinkholes and traps among the tree roots, and vipers lurking everywhere!

April 30, 8:32 pm | [comment link]
25. WonderinginTEC wrote:

Is anyone else wondering why it would not be an incursion for a primate of another province of the Anglican Communion that has “received” other dissenting dioceses to visit a diocese of The Episcopal Church that has expressed intention to separate from its polity and structure?

I really am confused.

How is she not protecting the polity of The Episcopal Church?

April 30, 10:24 pm | [comment link]
26. Cennydd wrote:

WonderinginTEC, has it ever occurred to you that none of this ever would have happened if TEC had not decided that they were going to go off on a tangent to the point where they have ignored the opinions of 90% of the Anglican Communion?  Yes, they say they did consider the feelings of others, and they have “apologized” if they’ve hurt others’ feelings, but their hallowed “polity” is much more important than adhering to the truth of Holy Scripture and the historic teachings of the Church Catholic.

These bishops and primates would never have taken these emergency actions if they had not felt it was necessary to answer the calls for help coming from faithful Episcopalians and Anglicans who could not get that help from their own Church without first having to “jump through hoops” in order to have their prayers answered.  If your own Church refused to help you, where should you go for help? 

Polity has no place when it comes to the saving of souls.

April 30, 10:41 pm | [comment link]
27. rwightman+ wrote:

Dear Wondering,

You are correct.  The P-Bess is doing all she can to protect the polity of The Episcopal Church.  She is doing this without reference to its canons, constitutions, her own better judgement or the Gospel as every branch of the Christian Church has believed it since the day of Pentecost.  Polity and property and power.  This is what she is protecting.  In an effort to do so, she is arrogating to herself titles (primate) and archepiscopal/semi-papal “powers” in order to attempt ex post facto to posit that TEC is an hierarchical church rather than the loose federation of dioceses that it has always been and which all the civil court cases will finally establish to have been the reality all along.

She does have the virtue of being consistent, if only consistently delusional in asserting that “All is well” in TEC and that there is no serious division (over faith and morals) to which she must devote her entire ministry.  I can’t really blame her for taking time off to dedicate a garden; it must have been a moment of refreshment in the desperate situation she denies that she is in.  Nor do I blame her for having a “scheduling conflict” with the Pope; the possible conditions of meeting him (no collar, plain black dress, be seated with the Methodists and the Baptists rather than directly after the Orthodox -or the possibliity of a Vatican representative relaying to 815 the message “You may want to have a scheduling conflict since, you must surely know that, His Holiness cannot and will not recognize that you are a priest, much less a bishop.” -all these would have impelled any person with an ounce of self-preservation to conveniently find herself the other end of the continent on the evening in question.  I pray to God that the woman has a hard time sleeping at night; that would at least indicate that her conscience is not seared beyond reclamation.

Again, let me tell you that you are correct.  She is trying to protect the polity (and assets) of TEC, but at this date and with her arrogant methods, this is rather like trying to reconnect the two halves of the Titanic with a stapler as the ship is going down.

Bishop Iker is a man of integrity and a man of the Gospel.  Personally, he is mild in his speech and laughter, but his middle name is not “Leo” in vain.  In this, he resembles Pope Leo I, who went out alone to meet Attila the Hun in order to save Rome from sacking.  He is a true priest of the Church and a Bishop of the Church catholic and apostolic (following the Faith and moral discipline as the Church has lived them for two millenia); Mrs. Schori is… well, let’s just say that ‘opinion is divided and the jury is still out.’  That is the most charitable view of the matter.

Sincerely yours,
R. N. Wightman+ 
(soon to be a resident in the Diocese of Fort Worth)

April 30, 11:13 pm | [comment link]
28. Cousin Vinnie wrote:

It seems the PBess is not interested in extending a “radical welcome” to any visiting bishops, at least not any who disagree with her.

May 1, 1:13 am | [comment link]
29. recchip wrote:

As much as I hate to point this out.  (Yikes, I am about to side with THAT WOMAN!!-Lord Have Mercy!!).
I have known two previous PB’s when I was at Sewanee.  Allin and Browning.  Whenever we discussed them (around the chapel, with seminarians) it was always “understood” that they were “archbishops without the title.”  In other words they were equals with the Primates/Head bishops of all the other provinces.  Thus, they were (and are) called The Most Reverand A.B. 
As I was taught: Priests(and deacons) are “The Rev.”,  Deans are “The Very Rev.”, Archdeacons are “The Venerable”, Bishops are “the Rt. Rev” , The PB (And other primates) are “The Most Rev.” and the ABC was the “Most Rev. and Rt. Honorable A.B.”  The only other “church title” above the ABC was “Her Majesty”.
So, the PB being a “primate” (I remember joking with Bishop Allin about that when he filled in as interim Chaplain) is nothing new.  (They were primates from at least 1983). 
So, it has finally happened.  I have sided with “her”.  I will now go to bed and hope that this has been a bad dream (GRIN).

May 1, 1:33 am | [comment link]
30. RazorbackPadre wrote:

#7 +Iker… is calling a spade a spade publicly and punching needed holes in KJS’ hot air ballon, lest she or any readers think he or any believers are cowed into silent agreement with her deluded rantings.”

Exactly. It is extremely important that the rest of us hear +Iker speak truth, regardless of the suspicion that +KJS is firmly allied to the lie. This letter is, therefore, a wonderful example of how +Iker is a leader and +others are not. For fear of rejection, +others chose silence or “diplomatic speech” or “moderation”. +Iker speaks the truth and leads through the fear. Oh for a few more men of character.

May 1, 8:52 am | [comment link]
31. mathman wrote:

Do I have this right?
1) Bishop Iker invites Archbishop Venables to speak to a gathering in his Diocese.
2) PB Schori writes ABP Venables to inform him that, should he accept the invitation, he would be making an unwarranted intrusion into The Episcopal Church.
3) Bp Iker responds directly to PB Schori, advising her that her authority as Presiding Bishop does not extend to the micromanagement of life in the Diocese of Fort Worth.
It is my opinion that references to the canons published in the name of the Ecumenical Councils are not applicable here. The Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church has long since been sundered.
The geographical territory which constitutes the Diocese of Fort Worth also includes members of other Christian denominations: Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Lutheran, Presbyterian, Methodist, Baptist, etc. Each of these denominations has their own leadership; none of these denominations has any say in who comes to visit any other denomination.
It must be admitted that, de jure, TEc is still part of the Anglican Communion. However, de facto, the evolving theology of TEc no longer corresponds to either the Ecumenical Councils or to the XXXIX Articles. Example 1: to say that Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life puts God in a box which is too small. Example 2: God created homosexuals to be that way, and therefore homosexual marriage is equivalent to, and should be honored in the same way as heterosexual marriage.
This reminds me (no, I do not actually remember this) of that time between 1776 and 1783, when the 13 Colonies had declared themselves independent, but British troops were still contending that the Colonial rule was still in force. Our British Colonial masters had made a substantial investment in the Colonies, and derived therefrom a substantial income. The Colonial rulers were not about to give up the cash flow, and sent armed troops to make sure the money kept rolling in. The thirteen Colonies were British property, and Britain had every right to guarantee its income in perpetuity.
Back then, the war was fought with swords and bullets. The war is currently being fought with lawsuits and depositions. It is still war, and the goal now (as it was then) is independence.
Today PB Schori claims that the property of all of the parishes in all of the Dioceses in TEc is held in trust for TEc. I find the historical parallels to be compelling, since the flow of money to the national Church seems to be a BIG issue.
Does this resonate with any readers of this thread?

May 1, 9:05 am | [comment link]
32. David Keller wrote:

#19 Young Joe—The first paragraph and your statement to me don’t necssarily jive.  But here’s what I think.  Sometimes you have to fight the good fight.  Christainity does not require one to lay down in front of a steamroller of heresy.  “Gentle Jesus meek and mild” is a total misunderstanding of the Gospel.  To quote the writer Dorothy Sayers, “we have effectively pared the claws of the lion of Judah, (and) certified Him as a fitting household pet for pale curates and pious old ladies.”  That’s not my Jesus.  My Jesus is power and glory.  As for me, I have been trying to fight the good fight for a long time.  I won’t go into details, but I have fought the tide in the Episcopal Church, for a long time, since at least the 1980’s and been beaten up for it for a long time as well.  Don’t assume that many of us haven’t been at the fight for a long time, or that we don’t understand the concepts of sacrifice and martyrdom.  That is actually very partonizing of you.  I am actually a pariah in my diocese, and my former rector had the senior warden to tell me to shut up.  I have it on best authority that two deacons have compiled a list of lay people who will be “inhibited” when GC 2009 passes the new lay inhibition canon—I’m on the list; and I am PROUD to be. There’s more, but I have said enough.  If you want to know more, the Elves are welcome to give you my email address.

May 1, 10:02 am | [comment link]
33. Words Matter wrote:

So here’s my question: how are the efforts of retired bishop Hulsey to organize, in Fort Worth, dissent against the diocesan bishop not an incursion, or boundary crossing, or whatever you wish to say?

It seems to me the presiding bishop is complaining about one incursion while practicing (or at least tolerating) another.

May 1, 10:48 am | [comment link]
34. Doubting Thomas wrote:

#33- Bishop Hulsey initiated the train wreck which is now the Diocese of N..W. Texas as evidenced by two of its largest parishes leaving TEC and another in financial shambles and its inability to even come forth with viable candidates for a new Diocesan. Now he’s moved on to Ft. Worth in retirement to work his magic there. No intrusion there, huh? Brings to mind the carpetbaggers following the civil war. Hopefully, the faithful people of Ft. Worth are strong enough to deal with what TEC is cooking up for them. I suspect they are but it will not be easy and TEC will pull out all stops to respond to withdrawing dioceses (a la San Joaquin) because that is the most dangerous crack in the dike. The PB has already said as much to Ft. Worth’s newest reasserter focus group.

May 1, 1:15 pm | [comment link]
35. Cennydd wrote:

It looks to me like frantic actions designed to plug more leaks in the dike.  The dike is showing signs of cracking more and more with each passing week, it seems, and I wonder how many more fingers it will take to plug them all before the whole dike gives way?

May 2, 12:14 am | [comment link]
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