ENS: In Forth Worth, TEC affiliated Bishop asks clergy to verify decision

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth provisional Bishop Edwin F. Gulick Jr. has asked 72 members of the diocesan clergy to meet with him to verify their decision to leave the Episcopal Church with former bishop Jack Iker.

"It is not my intention in writing you this letter to trespass upon your conscience in this matter or to offer any new arguments or words of persuasion," wrote Gulick, who is also bishop of the Diocese of Kentucky, in a May 26 letter. "However, before I begin to exercise certain canonical responsibilities regarding the status of those who have left the Episcopal Church, I feel compelled to offer to meet with you, if you wish, for a conversation related to your own discernment and decision."

The clergy and Iker aligned themselves with the Anglican Province of the Southern Cone by way of a series of votes at a November 15 diocesan convention. Six days later Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori inhibited Iker from exercising his ordained ministry and on December 5 announced that she had accepted what she said was Iker's renunciation of his Episcopal Church ordination. Iker has denied that he renounced his orders.

Read it all.

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

19 Comments
Posted May 29, 2009 at 5:30 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]



1. libraryjim wrote:

“If in fact that is the case, then any canonical action I am forced to perform as Provisional Bishop of the Diocese of Fort Worth will simply be declaration of a reality that exists. ... news release about the letter said the canonical responsibilities Gulick referred to “are those requiring the deposition of clergy who have left the Episcopal Church” for abandonment of the communion of the Episcopal Church and for refusing to acknowledge the authority of the bishop of the diocese—in this case, Gulick.

in other words, “acknowledge your abandonment of communion so we can punish you”  All stick, no carrot??

Jim Elliott <><
Florida

May 29, 7:39 pm | [comment link]
2. BMR+ wrote:

Do those clergy who no longer consider themselves to be clergy of the Episcopal Church feel “punished” when the authorities of the Episcopal Church declare that they are no longer clergy of the Episcopal Church?

Bruce Robison

May 29, 8:33 pm | [comment link]
3. Jeremy Bonner wrote:

Bruce,

I generally agree, but I wish someone would propose different terminology from “abandonment of communion” because, however qualified by “of the Episcopal Church,” it carries the implied message that this is deposition from orders (which I know you don’t believe with regard to your former colleagues - and nor do they about you). If certain bishops are not willing to make formal transfers (and even someone as “progressive” as the Bishop of Western New York has done that) then a formula like “revocation of license to preach and celebrate as a minister of the Episcopal Church in the United States of America” would have worked just as well. 

It seems to go hand-in-hand with the expressed intent of many TEC leaders not to concede Anglican identity to the new body, and since I don’t think any of us - least of all you and me - know precisely what constitutes an Anglican any more, I would describe this as at the very least premature. Furthermore, if it is not simply posturing, such a move further cements the position that TEC is no longer in communion with the Southern Cone, Nigeria, Kenya and Uganda, since they do recognize ACNA. 

Catholic and Reformed

May 29, 9:06 pm | [comment link]
4. Already left wrote:

I’ll bet they’re all rushing to make plane reservations to go and confess so they can be deposed!

May 29, 9:42 pm | [comment link]
5. Loren+ wrote:

Bruce,
Here might be an other way to handle this canonically:  might TEC continuing/interim bishops write letters dimissory to a CP bishop/diocese, who in turn could transfer the same to another province?  I know this might appear to be legalistic slight of hand, but I have long ago learned that issues of appearance or face are very important.  In this pattern, continuing bishops accomplish what they need to do without violating their conscious, and CP bishops affirm their relationships with the global communion.
There is one wrinkle that comes to mind:  canonically the clergy must request their own letter dimissory, which the realigning clergy can understandable argue they have no need to do.  But certainly if the Presiding Bishop can use Bishop Iker’s press statement as sufficient written notice, then certainly the same convention could be adopted for the priests and deacons involved.
As Jeremy has pointed out, the issue here is that TEC has now taken the language of communion to apply to itself.  Although I remain in TEC, I can in no way articulate a rationale from historical and biblical theology or ecclesiology to support the idea that TEC is a Communion by itself.

May 29, 10:02 pm | [comment link]
6. Cennydd wrote:

I think it’s true that TEC is moving in that direction, LCF+.  I have a real problem, too, with the idea that clergy are ragarded as being “in communion” with the Church in which they are ordained.  If TEC’s clergy are in communion with anyone, it’s the entire commmunity of Christ and His Church.  TEC’s clergy are members of, and under the AUTHORITY of, the Episcopal Church, although the signs have lately been pointing away from communion with the rest of the Anglican Communion, with the exception of the ACofC and the CofE.  It seems apparent to some that they are, in fact, moving to establish themselves as The Episcopal Communion.

May 29, 10:35 pm | [comment link]
7. dwstroudmd+ wrote:

Begone, you have no authority!

Unless you really, really want to be like the little chap on Southpark who keeps yelling about his “author-i-tie”?

Never mind.

May 29, 11:10 pm | [comment link]
8. NoVA Scout wrote:

re No.1’s take on this:  it seems far more like tidying up the roster, rather than a “punishment.”  As subsequent comments have indicated,  it is difficult to imagine why clergy leaving the Episcopal Church would feel punished if the Church records that they are gone.  I took Bishop Gulick’s message to be an effort to ensure that he does not rely on hearsay or third party descriptions about the positions of individual priests.  That seems fair and sensible.

May 29, 11:17 pm | [comment link]
9. robroy wrote:

The Anglican Curmudgeon explains how the similar action in San Joaquin showed that the rump diocese is built on a lie which is also the case here. If they are only now going to “depose” these clergy, then prior to this they were proper clergy and the emergency special convention failed to have a proper quorum.

Was the Pittsburgh rump diocese also built on a similar false foundation?

May 30, 1:12 am | [comment link]
10. The young fogey wrote:

What 2. and 8. said.

High-church libertarian curmudgeon

May 30, 1:34 am | [comment link]
11. Alice Linsley wrote:

A bag of stale air.

May 30, 5:51 am | [comment link]
12. BMR+ wrote:

#9: Article V.1 of the Constitution of the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh defines quorum as those qualified clergy and lay deputies who are physically present after a properly-called Convention.  With the exception of Bishop Duncan, who had been deposed from his office and ministry in the Episcopal Church in September, 2008, all canonically resident clergy, parishes, and lay deputies were notified of the Pittsburgh-TEC December Special Convention called by the Pittsburgh-TEC Standing Committee.  Clergy or lay “no shows” at a Convention do not affect quorum.

Bruce Robison

May 30, 7:31 am | [comment link]
13. The young fogey wrote:

I don’t think any of us - least of all you and me - know precisely what constitutes an Anglican any more.

I do: an Anglican is somebody whose bishop is invited to Lambeth.

The only benefit really for an American of being an Anglican is one’s bishop gets to meet the Queen every 10 years.

So you’ve got the Episcopalians on one hand tolerating denial of the Trinity and intercommuning with non-episcopal Protestants like the Methodists on one hand and on the other playing high-church (including in the old Establishment Tory sense) calling the conservatives schismatic and outside the church. Liberals are funny when they play the latter game.

Both sides commune all the baptised so I think most parishioners don’t get worked up about all this, the liberals’ on-and-off one-true-church claim (‘and I believe one gay, white, wholly upper-middle-class and liberal church’) notwithstanding.

Orthodoxy is not a licence to steal - in the case of parishes it’s clear-cut; you leave, you have to move - but the conservatives just want to keep going to church unhindered and the liberals want to sue them out of the buildings to put them out of business.

High-church libertarian curmudgeon

May 30, 7:51 am | [comment link]
14. Jeremy Bonner wrote:

#13,

I would have thought that the definition of “Anglican” is very much in flux. It’s just that today the “broad tent” approach - which in the past united ecclesiological strands with very little in common - no longer holds in a post-state church world. I can’t imagine William Reed Huntington or William Porcher du Bose or, for that matter, Charles Grafton, subscribing to your definition.

Past American “schisms” occurred with minimal or no involvement of Anglicans abroad (1873 and 1976); the present one is very different. That’s a separate argument from whether one should have one’s cake and eat it when it comes to property, where I think the lingering institutionalist mindset is not a good thing for ACNA.

May 30, 8:31 am | [comment link]
15. robroy wrote:

Bruce Robinson writes “Clergy or lay ‘no shows’ at a Convention do not affect quorum.”

Hunh? Call me incredulous. Quorums are by definition concerned with no-shows. Hence, five disaffected clergy can’t call a secret, special convention and elect Donald Duck as the new bishop. I think Bruce needs to do some fact checking.

But the fact that Bruce writes that Bishop Duncan was deposed, rather than “deposed” tells me that Bruce cares little about basing the remnant diocese on truth.

May 30, 9:08 am | [comment link]
16. BMR+ wrote:

Brother Robroy (I read that Walter Scott novel when I was a kid—really wonderful):

1.  I didn’t write the Constitution of the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh.  Article V Sec. 1: “Such members of the Clergy and Deputies as shall at any time be duly assembled in Convention shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of business.”  The “secret special convention” and Donald Duck scenario is theoretically prevented by limits on who can call a Special Convention and by requirements of due notice.

2.  I’m not quite sure what the scare marks are intended to imply.  I opposed the action of the House of Bishops in authorizing the PB to depose Bishop Duncan prior to October 4.  (I would have thought a necessary case would have existed post October 4, at the point when he assumed office in the Southern Cone diocese, but I think the advance action was mean-spirited and ill-conceived.  I also agree that the House itself seems to have run roughshod over its own parliamentary rules and even the canons it granting that consent—but in the through-the-looking-glass world of our polity, only the HoB itself can rule such an action out of order.  So it will necessarily stand, scare marks or no.  I trust my friends in the newly forming ACNA will be careful to design a Constitution and Canons that will not shield majorities, even majorities of bishops, from accountability.)  I personally have great personal affection and respect for Bishop Duncan. 

Bruce Robison

May 30, 9:24 am | [comment link]
17. robroy wrote:

Actually, I will concede to Bruce that the Pittsburgh constitution does state that a quorum is the people who show up. I did find the referenced definition. (I won’t concede that Bp Duncan was deposed!)

But here is the text from Fort Worth (the topic at hand):

b]QUORUM At any meeting of the Convention of this Diocese a quorum necessary to transact business shall consist of one-third (1/3) of the Clergy entitled to seats therein and Lay Delegates from one-third (1/3) of the Parishes and Missions in union with the Convention; but a smaller number shall have the power to adjourn from day to day until a quorum is obtained. Revised October, 1989

May 30, 9:26 am | [comment link]
18. robroy wrote:

Bruce+ had written #16 before my last comment where I was surfing to find the same wording that he quotes. Thanks, Bruce+, that (#16 was a gracious reply to my probably definitely, overly snarky comment.

May 30, 9:33 am | [comment link]
19. Grandmother wrote:

“INVITES” =
“Come in to my parlor”, said the spider to the fly”.......

Grandmother

May 30, 12:16 pm | [comment link]
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