Jefferts Schori sent letter in advance of diocese’s possible vote to leave U.S. Episcopal church
FORT WORTH The conservative bishop of the Fort Worth Episcopal Diocese accused the leader of the U.S. church in a letter this week of misusing her office and participating in “aggressive, dictatorial posturing.”
Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori warned Fort Worth Bishop Jack Iker last week that he could face discipline if he continues to back proposals to separate from the U.S. church. The Texas diocese was set to consider taking steps in meetings Friday and Saturday, Nov. 16-17, to leave the national church over deep differences in biblical interpretation.
Iker fired back a response Monday, Nov. 12, that called the suggestion that he had violated church law “baseless.”
Canon Bob Williams, a spokesman for Jefferts Schori, said she was traveling in China on Tuesday, Nov. 13, and had no immediate comment.
Despite Jefferts Schori’s similar warning to Pittsburgh Bishop Robert Duncan, representatives from that diocese overwhelmingly this month approved constitutional amendments that are the first step in leaving the national church in a widening rift over homosexuality and interpretation of Scripture.
Iker reminded the presiding bishop that the Fort Worth diocese united with the national church 25 years ago.
“If circumstances warrant it, we can likewise, by voluntary vote, terminate that relationship,” he wrote. “Your aggressive, dictatorial posturing has no place in that decision. Sadly, however, your missive will now be one of the factors that our Convention will consider as we determine the future course of this diocese for the next 25 years and beyond, under God’s grace and guidance.”
Pittsburgh joined dioceses in San Joaquin, Calif., and Quincy, Ill., in granting preliminary approval to separating from the national church, which the dioceses contend have wrongly abandoned Scriptural authority and traditional teachings on truth, salvation and the divinity of Jesus Christ.
Fort Worth will consider similar measures.
The division between conservatives and the Episcopal Church, the Anglican body in the U.S., has sharpened since the denomination consecrated New Hampshire Bishop V. Gene Robinson, who is openly gay, in 2003.
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition November 16, 2007
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