To the clergy of the Diocese of Fort Worth
The Realignment Moves Forward
At our Diocesan Convention in 2003, the following resolution was adopted by an overwhelming majority vote of both the clergy and the lay delegates:
We declare our commitment to work with those Bishops and dioceses and those primates and Provinces that will now move forward with a realignment of the Anglican Communion; we reaffirm the authority of Holy Scripture and our intention to continue faithfully to uphold and propagate the historic Faith and Order of the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church under the sovereignty of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
A lot has transpired in the four years since we made that bold declaration, and a great deal has taken place just this past summer that has reinforced that firm resolve. I am pleased to report to you that the realignment of the Anglican Communion is well under way. Take for example the events of last week, when a number of the primates of Provinces of the Global South took the historic action of consecrating three American priests as bishops to provide episcopal ministry and oversight to former Episcopalians here in the States. These congregations share our commitment to the historic Faith and Order of the Church but have decided that they can no longer remain faithful Anglicans and still remain officially associated with The Episcopal Church.
As you know, in March the House of Bishops voted down a very workable proposal for alternative primatial oversight that the primates’ Meeting had offered to provide for our expressed needs, and no other alternative plan has been suggested. This resulted in the declaration that the Standing Committee and I made on May 16th that we would now have to pursue our original appeal for APO ”“ an appeal that was supported by an overwhelming majority vote at our Diocesan Convention last year ”“ independent of the structures of The Episcopal Church. We have had some very encouraging meetings and conversations over the summer months with a number of Bishops and dioceses and primates and Provinces that share our concerns and our commitment to Christian orthodoxy. The Archbishop of Canterbury has been kept informed of these developments. More about this will be forthcoming in the weeks ahead.
One of the most encouraging signs of the realignment that is under way is the first-ever Council of Bishops of the Common Cause Partners which is to meet in Pittsburgh during the last week of September. This is a gathering of all bishops exercising active ministry within the member bodies of Common Cause.* The purpose of the meeting is to explore ways in which we can work together for a biblical, missionary and united Anglicanism in North America. I will be among some 60 bishops in attendance, as will be the newly consecrated bishops serving those congregations here in the States that are under the Provinces of Uganda and Kenya.
By the end of this month, the House of Bishops will have decided the future direction of TEC, and as a result we too will have to declare our future as a diocese. I do not expect that TEC will comply with the requests of the primates in their Dar es Salaam CommuniquÃ©. In that case, we will see further fraction and division in the Communion during the months ahead. We will then have to choose in favor of the Anglican Communion majority at the expense of our historic relationship with the General Convention Church.
Pray, my brothers and sisters, for the peace and unity of the Church. Pray that the Bishops of The Episcopal Church will turn back, even at this late hour, from the course they have been pursuing, a course that has sown seeds of discord and broken fellowship far and wide. Pray too for the leadership of this diocese as the realignment continues, that we may remain faithful to the received faith and practice of historic, biblical Christianity.
–The Rt. Rev. Jack Leo Iker
Bishop of Fort Worth
September 6, 2007