The Episcopal Church refuses All Saints’ Fort Worth permission for Canon 32 process

In a letter dated March 9, attorneys for The Episcopal Church and the TEC-affiliated All Saints’ Episcopal Church in Fort Worth rejected the Diocese’s offer to resolve the property dispute between the parish and Diocese through the Canon 32 process.

Read it all and follow the link.


Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Stewardship, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Fort Worth, Theology

12 comments on “The Episcopal Church refuses All Saints’ Fort Worth permission for Canon 32 process

  1. Undergroundpewster says:

    TEc: The Denomination of Peace.

  2. Jeremy Bonner says:

    The trouble with Canon 32 (ACNA) is that it is predicated on a parish wishing to leave the Diocese, not on two factions of the congregation both claiming to be the legitimate holder of title. Furthermore, Canon 32 – understandably – vests ultimate authority in the bishop. Just as the ACNA portion of the congregation can in no way view Bishop High as a neutral arbitrator, so I can understand the TEC portion baulking at giving Bishop Iker discretionary authority.

    If resort to the courts is to be avoided, why not convene a neutral panel – say an Orthodox bishop, a Southern Baptist seminary professor and a Quaker (that way both the hierarchical and congregationalist viewpoints are represented) – and see if they can come up with an acceptable compromise?

  3. Sarah1 says:

    Well, except Bishop Iker is the recognized episcopal authority by the courts in Texas *and* it is probably the very best way for the TEC part of the parish to actually keep some property.

    So *the priority* for the TEC attorneys is to go through the courts, with greater risk of losing property, than not.

    I mean — obviously that’s not a surprise to any of us. Just neat to see it demonstrated yet again.

  4. MichaelA says:

    As I understand the situation, Sarah has gone straight to the key point: +Iker is legally the diocesan, his diocese is the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth, which is a member of ACNA, therefore it is proper for him to follow the appropriate canon of the church to which his diocese belongs.

    Equally I can see why the TEC parties don’t want to acknowledge that. But as Dr Bonner points out, if they really did want to reach an agreed settlement, there are plenty of other ways they could organise a mediation to settle their differences with Dio Fort Worth.

  5. Katherine says:

    It looks as if ECUSA would rather see these people lose the property entirely rather than negotiate some reasonable settlement with Bishop Iker.

  6. Sarah1 says:

    Yep Katherine. I think it’s a helpful insight into the bitterness and bile that underlies much of the TEC leadership’s actions at the highest level. It’s good intel to know.

  7. David Keller says:

    TECs attitude can be paraphrased by a famous Viet Nam quote: “We had to destroy that church in order to save it.”

  8. Henry says:

    MichaelA…Canon 32 is a Diocesan Canon, in effect at the time of the split, not an ACNA canon. Soon after the split, there were 3 parishes that took advantage of it & were allowed to leave with their property. +Iker encouraged All Saints’ to do the same, but they refused.

  9. Jeremy Bonner says:

    Henry (#8),

    Thanks for the clarification; if Canon 32 as currently worded was in force before the second vote on disaffiliation, then I suppose one could reasonably appeal to its prior authority.

    I just stumbled a 2009 article from David Virtue that asserts that the rector blocked a congregational vote on disaffiliation at All Saints. Did one subsequently occur and did it secure a two-thirds margin?

  10. Katherine says:

    #9, I have read (recently) that a vote was held, but only after all those voting were required to sign a “loyalty oath” to TEC. Those not signing were not allowed to vote.

  11. Henry says:

    Jeremy Bonner (9),
    The rector of All Saints’ worked very hard to subvert the whole process as the parish was fairly equally divided. During the time before the split, he began stacking the vestry by requiring nominees to sign a loyalty oath, so anyone supporting the side sticking with +Iker would be disqualified. He also somehow barred some life-long members from voting in parish elections. As far as actually ever allowing a vote to disaffiliate, I don’t know, but would certainly doubt it.

  12. MichaelA says:

    Henry at #8, thanks. I guess that makes the point with even more force then – the rightful diocese has its rules and quite reasonably asks its constituent parishes to abide by them.