[W]e must say that this dispute, as so many others, is not new to Christian history. In fact, it is not new to any other of the living religious traditions, either. More than once in Christian history, disagreements and conflict have eventuated in schisms, some of which led to competitions for ecclesial authority. Will the Holy See find its home in Italy or France? Is the center of authority lodged in Rome or Constantinople? And a favorite one for Anglicans: Is it Rome or Canterbury?
And now the runoff du jour: Will the real Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth please stand up, and with it, its bishop?
In a recent advertisement in the Star-Telegram, the Rt. Rev. Bishop Jack Iker stood up, waved his hand and said, "It’s me!" He has withdrawn from the established Diocese of the Episcopal Church in the U.S.A. and now claims that his newly founded diocese — in communion with the Archbishop of Canterbury — is the one that has been here all along......
Such a lively revisionist sense of history!
Bishop Iker: You just decided to leave. You were done with all that crazy Episcopal Church U.S.A. stuff. You followed your star, fine and good. But please don’t pretend that you’re the one staying and others — here all along — are the ones forming a new diocese. They are the ones continuing......the rule of thumb is — and one by and large supported by civil courts when it comes down to that nasty action — that the ones leaving don’t take the assets with them. They go out empty-handed because it’s their choice. Especially good church bylaws and rules of order prohibit this from happening.
It just so happened that I dropped by the convention of the continuing Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth on Feb. 7.
I have to say, there were lots of Episcopalians there worshipping and acting like church. Their presiding bishop was there, as was the newly appointed provisional one. The worship included much confession, affirmation of our basic unity, prayers for healing and encouragement to be the whole church in the world. From the spirit in the place, I’d say that’s exactly what’s going to happen.
As I went forward for communion, I was served the bread by a male priest and the cup by a female priest. I have to say, it seemed just about as whole and healthy as a family can be around the table.
But what do I know? I’m not even an Episcopalian.
Friday, February 13, 2009
From the Fort Worth paper
Susan Russell highlighted this op-ed from the Fort Worth paper. The author is getting hammered in the comments from conservatives and neo-Catholics. Go read, and set them straight (a-hem!)