Bishop Jack Iker: Memo to All Diocesan Clergy

The Bishop of Kentucky has no ecclesiastical authority to act within the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth, first and foremost because the Diocese has realigned with another Anglican Province in communion with the See of Canterbury, upholding and propagating the historic Faith and Order as set forth in the Book of Common Prayer. We assume that he is seeking to exercise some authority in Fort Worth based upon Canon 13 of the Canons of PECUSA. Setting aside the obvious argument that the Diocese is no longer a part of the PECUSA because of realignment and Canon 13 is inconsistent with Article II, Section 3, of the Constitution of PECUSA, and is therefore null and void, his reliance upon Canon 13 for his authority is misplaced. The meeting that was held in Fort Worth on February 7, 2009, by some clergy and laypersons of the Diocese was not a duly-constituted meeting of the Convention. Neither the Bishop nor the Standing Committee of the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth issued a call for a special meeting of the Convention, as required by Article IV of the Constitution of the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth. Moreover, there was no quorum present at the February 7, 2009, meeting, because less than one-third of all clergy and lay delegates of the Diocese entitled to seat was present for the meeting. Consequently, the individuals in attendance at the February 7, 2009, meeting lacked any legitimate power or authority to perform any official act, including but not limited to the placement of the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth under Bishop Gulick’s “provisional charge” pursuant to PECUSA Canon 13. All actions purportedly taken at the meeting clearly were null and void.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Florida

16 comments on “Bishop Jack Iker: Memo to All Diocesan Clergy

  1. Intercessor says:

    God bless you Bishop Jack Leo Iker.

  2. Dale Rye says:

    This (and the comparable position of the other side) is just about as silly as the mutual excommunications by the Patriarchs of the East and West in 1054. There are obviously now two Dioceses of Fort Worth, each of which has some claim to be Anglican. The Southern Cone Bishop has exactly the same authority to declare acts of the TEC Bishop and Convention void as vice-versa… none.

    If the two of them find this fun, why don’t they get together and declare the acts of the local Roman Catholic bishop or Methodist Conference void? Maybe that will improve their mutual moods enough to work out the serious remaining property issues within the dioceses as Christians rather than as litigants. Like it or not, the schism has happened and pretending that there is only one Diocese of Fort Worth (or San Joaquin, Pittsburgh, etc.) is so obviously contrary to fact that it makes the speaker look ridiculous.

  3. Alice Linsley says:

    So Ted Gulick is bishop without diocese and clergy. May the Vestry and people of the Episcopal Church of the Ascenion in Bardstown take note of how ‘what goes around comes around.’

  4. Philip Snyder says:

    There is a rather large problem for the Diocese headed by Gulick. He presumes to be operating under the C&C of the Diocese of Fort Worth, but the convention which elected him did not have a quroum, so he was not elected provisional bishop because there was no body with the authority to call for the special convention and there was not quroum at that election. So, he cannot be the Provisional Bishop of the Diocese that maintains continuity with the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth since his election was not according to the C&C of that diocese.

    So, perhaps there is a new diocese. But the TEC C&C for the formation of a new diocese were not followed either, so he can’t be the bishop of a new diocese either.

    Phil Snyder

  5. Todd Marchand says:


    You express the hope that Bishops Iker and Gulick will “work out the serious remaining property issues within the dioceses as Christians rather than as litigants.”

    Please be reminded that it is Gulick, Schori et al who have brought suit against Bishop Iker and the trustees of the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth, Southern Cone, and that prior to the litigation brought by the TEC-backed entity, Bishop Iker released four parishes and their property from their association with the Southern Cone diocese. It is Gulick, Schori and TEC who are unwilling to negotiate a gracious settlement, instead threatening clergy, parish treasurers and individual vestry members with additional litigation, as in this “advice” from attorney Jonathan Nelson in his letter to representatives of Fort Worth parishes of the Southern Cone (emphasis mine):

    “It is our sincere hope that after an accounting you have not incurred any personal liability regarding the parish property and funds during the time they have been under your control.”

    As Phil points out, Gulick’s election to a position of authority over clergy, vestry members and parishioners in Southern Cone-affiliated Fort Worth churches is a myth.

  6. Dallasite says:

    I agree with Dale that Bishop Iker’s letter is silly. It is silly for the same reasons he asserts that Bishop Gulick’s letter is silly, namely that the Gulick Diocese (a reference for convenience – I recognize that no Diocese “belongs” to a bishop) doesn’t have the authority to operate under the Iker Diocese’s (ditto) c&c.

    This is, imo, simply a bit of maneuvering in support of the litigation in which the Iker Diocese and the Gulick Dioceses are each claiming the property. Otherwise, I can’t imagine why Bishop Iker or any other clergy aligning with the Iker Diocese would care whether Bishop Gulick sent a nastygram or not.

    A simple waste of time, and a spit in the eye.

  7. Dan Ennis says:

    #5, I agree with your last sentence, “Gulick’s election to a position of authority over clergy, vestry members and parishioners in Southern Cone-affiliated Fort Worth churches is a myth.”

    What I don’t understand is Bishop Iker’s apparent belief that he is somehow both the Anglican/Southern Cone Bishop of Forth Worth and still the ECUSA Bishop of Fort Worth.

    Once Iker realigned he lost his pastoral authority over the lives of Forth Worth Episcopalians who chose not to realign. He has no more say over how ECUSA chooses to operate in Forth Worth than does the Anglican Bishop of Gibraltar.

    I think reasserters are going to win the debate about overlapping Anglican geographical jurisdiction–ECUSA has lost the exclusive Anglican franchise in North America and I don’t see the Archbishop of Canterbury taking steps to prevent that. But having won that battle–a huge one–it makes no sense to act like these new Anglican entities will replace existing ECUSA jurisdictions. They won’t. They’ll have to exist side-by-side, like cousins who don’t like each other.

  8. Todd Marchand says:


    Not sure what you mean when you refer to Bishop Iker’s “say over how ECUSA chooses to operate in Forth Worth.”

    He’s brought no suit against TEC (I believe they now prefer that to ECUSA) claiming authority over all parish properties in the Fort Worth geography, and I haven’t seen any Gulick-like letters demanding the submission of TEC clergy to the doctrine and discipline of the Province of the Southern Cone and to his authority. Other than affirming the defense of the diocese which in convention consitutionally separated itself from TEC by an 80-20 margin, what has he said or done that makes you believe he wishes to assert authority over TEC members? As I pointed out previously, he released four parishes and about two dozen clergy members who announced their intention to remain in TEC — something he was not obligated to do.

    I think most folks in the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth, Southern Cone, including its bishop, welcome the opportunity to minister to disaffected TECers, but have no desire to force anyone into submission, as Gulick and his legal counsel demand in their letters to clergy and lay members of the Southern Cone.

  9. NoVA Scout says:

    This is all motivated by trying to claim the properties. The departing crowd knows that there is a substantial component of people in the pews who will keep going to worship where they are accustomed to worship. Ditto the remaining Episcopalians. Otherwise, it would be very clear that the two structures could exist simultaneously without either having to question the authority of the other.

  10. Cennydd says:

    It seems to me that the ratio of those staying in TEC versus those leaving is on the average of 2:10, depending on the diocese.

  11. NoVA Scout says:

    The ratio would change more than a little if the departers, who generally organize and lead the process of voting, were not fairly sanguine about keeping the property. In my church the vote was around 60-30-10 (very hard to know what the correct total number of eligible voters was), with the 30 being those eligible to vote but who did not, technically a “no” vote, but most likely a reflection of not being particularly concerned about the hub-bub, and having some confidence that their weekly worship would not be disrupted by a vote either way.

  12. Dan Ennis says:


    Bishop Iker refers to “the rump diocese.” That is, he suggests that he is still the Bishop of the Episcopalian of Forth Worth (notice he chose not to change the name of his diocese from “Episcopal” to “Anglican” as many other ACNA entities have done). How else to read the phrase “the rump diocese?” It isn’t a “rump.” The facts on the ground are that there are Southern Cone Anglican Christians in Forth Worth and TEC Christians in Fort Worth. The former follow Bishop Iker, but the latter have no reason to do so. Iker having decamped from TEC, the TEC folks will need a new bishop. Why is that so hard to admit?

    Iker calls Gulick the “‘Provisional Bishop'” of the “rump diocese”–why the quotations around “provisional bishop?” Just for fun, I’ll adopt Bishop Iker’s style for the rest of this post. I’ll throw in the derogatory “rump” too, just for effect.

    Most tellingly, “Bishop” Iker and his “rump” Southern Cone “diocese” wants to have his cake and eat it too, declaring, “The Bishop of Kentucky has no ecclesiastical authority to act within the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth, first and foremost because the Diocese has realigned with another Anglican Province in communion with the See of Canterbury, upholding and propagating the historic Faith and Order as set forth in the Book of Common Prayer.”

    Okay, but what about the Episcopalians (i.e. TEC) who live in Fort Worth but aren’t moving to the Southern Cone?

    Well, it appears they don’t exist. They will not be allowed to have a Bishop. Apparently they won’t be allowed spaces of worship unless they wrest them by legal force. “Bishop” Iker wants total victory—every Forth Worth worshipper of Anglican persuasion must recognize his “rump” diocese as the only Anglican show in town.

    I notice you talk about the diocese having “constitutionally separated itself from TEC by an 80-20 margin.” Okay, what happens to those 20%? “Bishop” Iker goes on about quorums and the finer points of the “Constitution of the Episcopal Diocese of Fourth Worth”. Yet he counts quorums based on the largest number he can–including the 80% who, by your own admission, have realigned. In this way, he sets (imaginary) conditions that make it impossible the TEC folks in Forth Worth to move on—they will never have a quorum because “Bishop” Iker (who just realigned) still wants to be counted as an Episcopalian.

    It is one thing to realign. It is another to realign and then try claims the rights of those who haven’t.

  13. Katherine says:

    “Episcopal” is an adjective meaning relating to bishops. What Iker means is that the legal entity called the Episcopal Diocese of Ft. Worth has moved its larger allegiance from the collection of dioceses who meet at General Convention to the collection of dioceses which report to the Southern Cone.

    The ECUSA group attempted to reorganize using the C&C of the old diocese, the one that went to the Southern Cone; however, under that diocese’s canons, the ECUSA group did not have a quorum and were therefore not able legally to do anything. Of course the ECUSA group in Ft. Worth can have a bishop and a diocese associated with General Convention. All they have to do is have an organizational meeting, elect leadership, set up canons, and apply to General Convention for admission.

  14. Todd Marchand says:

    Actually, Dan, “Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth” is the name of the corporation under Texas law. And TEC doesn’t own that. So there’s no reason to refer to the Southern Cone diocese as anything but that. Ted Gulick has been named “provisional bishop” of the TEC group, so it’s perfectly appropriate to refer to him by that title. And “rump” has long historical usage as a synonym for “remnant” — the term was coined in 1648 in association with the English parliament after it was purged by Colonel Pride. It’s not necessarily or solely a derogatory term, and in this case it’s a convenient shorthand since TEC is also claiming the name of Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth in spite of the fact that the corporation that convened in November 2008 and re-aligned with the Southern Cone owns the name.

    And please, it’s “Fort” Worth, not “Forth” or “Fourth.”

  15. BigTex AC says:

    Apparently they won’t be allowed spaces of worship unless they wrest them by legal force.
    Really? Did Father Barber tell you that? What about Father Stanford? The facts on the ground don’t support your claim.

    BigTex AC

  16. Henry says:

    #13, 14, & 15 are exactly right. +Iker is NOT trying to keep those who do not want to be a part of this diocese. He is the ONLY one to act in a Christian manner here–releasing 4 parishes’ property and all the clergy who did not want to remain with this diocese…without question! Fr.s Barber (Trinity), Stanford (St. Christopher), McLain (St. Luke’s), and rector (forgot his name) of St. Martin’s should attest to that, along with the other priests and deacons who were released. Claiming +Iker is trying to be both is absurd…he has no desire to stay in TEC or have any authority over those who do. It is only logical that they should follow the canons as we have!