Wednesday, September 10, 2008

+Iker Fires Five Vestry Members

North Texans Remain Episcopal reports that secessionist bishop +Jack Iker of the Dio. of Fort Worth has exonerated the Rev. Kenneth W. MacKenzie, rector of All Saints Episcopal Church, Wichita Falls, TX, despite repeated claims of pastoral neglect, lying, and blighted leadership. The bishop, however, directed the priest to return to regular pastoral counseling and psychotherapy under his supervision.

Bp. Iker also fired five of the parish's vestry members and a long-time, trusted treasurer. Ordered off the vestry were a EYC sponsor and lay reader, a former Junior Warden, a former lay reader, lay Eucharistic visitor and ECW chair, a 50+ year member of All Saints, and a woman who has done every volunteer job at the church except junior warden at least twice. The treasurer had served in his role at the parish for 36 years and has been unanimously elected treasurer year after year at the Parish's annual meeting. With these firings, the bishop reduced the size of the vestry by one-half.

Four of the five dismissed vestry members had taken leadership roles in North Texans Remain Episcopal.

17 comments:

Anonymous said...

See post below. There is NO HONOR left in any of this. None of these conservative bishops have the courage of true conviction, but only the bravado of power. Retaliation is bullying.

And they call themselves" Christians". You lot have a real marketing problem.

IT

David said...

You lot have a real marketing problem.

Don't I know it. :/

Brought this up several times over at Jake's old place, but it never really gets discussed. I think it's one of those "crazy relative in the attic" things that many self-styled Christians can't find it within themselves to address.

Quick, dismissive hand-waving and a lot of "Oh people who act this way aren't real Christians" comments seem to be the extent of it.

dr.primrose said...

What authority gives any bishop, Iker or anyone else, the right to "fire" vestry members? Generally, they don't even have the right to "fire" rectors unless the rector has been found guilty of some ecclesiastical offense.

Does anyone have any additional info on this? I couldn't find anything on the North Texas Remain Episcopal site.

Tom Sramek, Jr. said...

I don't know anything about the situation, but in general bishops have authority to dismiss Vestry members of mission congregations (as opposed to parish congregations). Bishops, as a rule, have near total control over mission business and governance, though very few exercise that control, for both obvious and pastoral reasons. If this congregation is a parish, they might legitimately have a case that as a seperately incorporated entity the bishop doesn't have the authority to dismiss Vestry members. Of course, given the dysfunctionality that seems to be there, it might not be worth the effort.

James said...

Tom is absolutly correct. The bishop does control mission congregations but not parishes. I would be interested to see what their canons say about firing viestry members. If I were one of the fired folk, I'd file a lawsuit post haste. Say, mental distress and harassment in the sum of 100 million dollars. :)

Fred Schwartz said...

I agree with everything that has bee nsaid but I would first look at the parish by-laws. Then, go from there.

JCF said...

Four of the five dismissed vestry members had taken leadership roles in North Texans Remain Episcopal.

And (x)Iker fired them? I'm shocked-shocked.

Not.

Lord have mercy! Liberating Christ, DEFEND your faithful servants!

David said...

Dr. Primrose,

This came from an email that Dixie forwarded to us "via media" types in Dallas that she got from the North Texans Remain Episcopal group (it's not on their website yet). You might email her to inquire, or feel free to email me & I'll send you a copy.

Everyone else,

Sorry, I know the above makes little sense, but he'll know who Dixie is... :)

dr.primrose said...

I'm assuming this involves a "parish" rather than a "mission" since the story refers to a "rector" and a "vestry" rather than a "vicar" and a "bishop's committee." That's why it doesn't make sense to me.

dr.primrose said...

The bishop's order in this matter has been posted on website for the Diocese of Fort Worth -- http://www.fwepiscopal.org/downloads/ASWFcanon32.pdf

Iker has based his decision on a diocesan canon concerning disputes between a rector and the vestry. The part of the canon that Iker relies on is Canon 32.3, which provides:

"When the hearing is concluded and after consultation with the Standing Committee, the Bishop shall make such an order as he may think just and in the best interest of the Church. It shall be the duty of the Rector and Vestry to submit to and abide by such order as the final and conclusive determination of all matters of controversy between them."

Using this kind of canon to "fire" half the vestry is a stretch, I think, particuarly where, when apparently there's fight between the "secessionists" and the "TEC loyalists" on the vestry, the bishop uses it to get rid of his ideological opponents. I suspect the diocesan plan is for parishes to "vote" on remaining in TEC and Iker's just stacked this parish's deck.

Cany said...

Um, can I ask a seemingly stupid question?

WHY would anyone be surprised?

Anonymous said...

I know these types of bishops are power-monger crazies...BUT do we have any real information on this situation, enough to draw accurate conclusions? We can't simply assume that this was a political "firing" without knowing the facts. Even conservatives deserve that.

Leonardo Ricardo said...

Iker Picked a Peck of Pickled Wickets to support the unwholeness cause...he's gotta get rid of sober thinking and God loving human beings...he's moving quickly from arrogant blowhard, bigshot Lambeth Cocktail Partygiving "Boastess with the Mostess" to a despised despot and outright idiot...right there in Ft. Work (for everyone to see as his See)...really, nobody acts as stupidly unless their thunder is turning into high-pitched screaches of "the pie-in-the-sky is falling...it's no doubt quite dangerous on the ground.

Don't be silly IT, we're not responsible to "sell" anyone the value of loving God...of course, when a couple of our lunatic Bishops start acting out...well, Church doesn't "look" very appealing to anyone with common sense...ask those vestry members... boy does this Iker Piker fellow know how to make enemies...wow, he and Schofield are quickly riding away on a reinforced Psychocycle built for two and frantically peddling into the SUNSET of their own fantasy making! Glad I'm not either of them...that's reason enough to believe there IS A LOVING God...we're not them!

Dennis said...

"anonymous" likely came here from StandFirm, who not only has the story up but there is also a link to the site in one of the comments.

The StandFirmers are all acting like this is a special case of pastoral sensitivity that should not be made public.

But of course they are going to relay the party line and say whatever they think will make that wolf-in-robes Iker look good.

airedale said...

What Iker has really done is to ensure the parish will now join him in the Southern Cone. We here in FTW have watched him run roughshod over churchs for a long time. Need a new priest, no problem, as long as it is Iker's man. Want to pray for the PB? Doesn't happen except at 1 or 2 churches. Want to talk trash about TEC? No problem, here's a microphone.
Frankly, I will be glad to be rid of him.

David said...

Dr. Primrose wrote, "I suspect the diocesan plan is for parishes to "vote" on remaining in TEC and Iker's just stacked this parish's deck."

No doubt. Although anyone who's ever experienced the tender ministrations of +Jack Leo Iker would hardly be surprised at such a thing :/

Марко said...

Jack Iker is a SAWM: short, angry, white man. Come to think of it, John McCain is also a SAWM.