from Kathleen Wells
Colleagues, regarding resolutions to consent to ordination and consecration of several bishops-elect, e.g., C072 Western Louisiana, C066Virginia, etc.:
We will have the opportunity to vote to consent to the ordination and consecration of several bishops-elect at General Convention.
We from Fort Worth are joined by bishops and deputies from the Dioceses of Quincy and San Joaquin in our hope that none of these bishops-elect harbors the views expressed in the amicus brief recently filed against the Diocese of Fort Worth by seven (7) bishops and three (3) priests of this Church.
We respectfully ask that you support us in our request that, before the Bishops and Deputies are asked to vote on these consent resolutions,
1. each bishop-elect will have been appropriately and directly examined at a public hearing of the Legislative Committee on Consecration of Bishops or other appropriate public forum in order to confirm his or her (a) understanding of the basics of the polity of this hierarchical Church and (b) specifically whether he or she contends that dioceses have the unilateral and autonomous authority to leave the Church and take church property with them; and
2. those views be published or otherwise communicated to both houses.
Specifically, as you all probably know, on April 23, 2012 several bishops of this Church-The Rt. Rev. Maurice M. Benitez (retired, Diocese of Texas); The Rt. Rev. John W. Howe (retired, Diocese of Central Florida); The Rt. Rev. Paul E. Lambert (suffragan, Diocese of Dallas); The Rt. Rev. William H. Love (diocesan, Diocese of Albany); The Rt. Rev. D. Bruce MacPherson (diocesan, Diocese of W. Louisiana); The Rt. Rev. Daniel H. Martins (diocesan, Diocese of Springfield); and The Rt. Rev. James M. Stanton (diocesan, Diocese of Dallas)-filed an amicus brief with the Texas Supreme Court which urged that Court to reverse the summary judgment in favor of The Episcopal Church, Bishop Wallis Ohl, and the loyal Episcopalians in the reorganized, continuing Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth, promoting a fundamental misunderstanding of the polity of our Church, including misrepresentations that:
* The Church is hierarchical only to the diocesan level, not to the General Convention;
* In the Episcopal Church, the highest authority is the diocesan bishop, not General Convention;
* A diocese in the Episcopal Church is autonomous;
* The Diocese of Fort Worth (and therefore presumably any diocese in the Episcopal Church) can unilaterally leave this Church (and presumably usurp the historic church names, records, funds and substantial other real and personal property as the breakaway group forms or affiliates with a new church);
* Breakaway former bishop Jack Iker, not Provisional Bishop Wallis Ohl who is recognized by this Church, is still the bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth and that it is Iker’s determination of core ecclesiastical issues, e.g. identity of the bishop and other church officials, that binds the secular court under the deference standard in resolving church property disputes; and
* Iker and the breakaway Defendants should prevail in the litigation against the loyal Episcopalians and thus be able to remove from the mission and ministry of The Episcopal Church and its Diocese and congregations the historic church names, records, funds and substantial other real and personal property throughout the Diocese.
Certainly this request is not a criticism or judgment of any of the bishops-elect we will prayerfully consider in the consent process at General Convention. They-and future bishops-elect for whom the dioceses may grant or withhold their consent-can and should speak unambiguously for themselves on these issues.
We believe strongly that, as we vote, each Deputy and Bishop should be fully informed of the position of each bishop-elect on these fundamental issues and consider the grave spiritual, missional, and financial costs of the schisms which can emanate from all those qualified accession clauses and this “hierarchy stops at me” mentality.
Bishop and Deputation, Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth:
The Rt. Rev. C. Wallis Ohl
C1 The Rev. David A. Madison L1 Kathleen Wells
C2 The Rev. Susan Slaughter L2 Victoria Prescott
C3 The Rev. J. Fred Barber L3 Katie Sherrod
C4 The Rev. Melanie Barbarito L4 Robert Hicks
CA1 The Rev. Amy Haynie LA1 Lisa Neilson
CA2 The Rev. Janet Nocher LA2 Norm Snyder
CA3 The Rev. James Reynolds LA3 Brent Walker
CA4 The Rev. ClayOla Gitane LA4 Margaret Mieuli