This is the announcement of a Special Convention in the Diocese of Fort Worth for Saturday Sept. 27, and the resolutions that will be considered there.
I am pleased to report to you that we had a wonderful diocesan clergy meeting on Saturday morning, Aug. 16, at the Center for Ministry. With the exception of two or three priests, all fulltime parish clergy were present, as well as our deacons and several retired priests. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the events of the recently concluded General Convention of the Episcopal Church. In my role as Chief Pastor of the clergy, I felt it was very important to hear directly from them, especially in the light of the more controversial decisions made at the Minneapolis Convention, and to get a sense for how our laity are responding to all of this as well. It was a good time of discussion and sharing, which was very valuable to all of us.
Following a brief report from me on the principal actions of the 74th General Convention, we spent over an hour together, sharing thoughts and listening to one another. Various concerns were expressed about where we are as a Church and where we thought our Diocese is during this time of turmoil and anxiety in the Episcopal Church. At the conclusion, in order to give some clarity and bring some closure to our discussions, I asked the assembly to vote on four resolutions to give us some sense of where we are as the clergy of Fort Worth.
Resolution #1: To repudiate and disassociate ourselves from the decision to consent to the consecration of a practicing homosexual in the Diocese of New Hampshire to serve as a bishop in this church, and to request that our Diocesan Convention do the same. The results were: Yes - 63; No - 4; Abstain - 5
Resolution #2: To disassociate ourselves from the decision to allow the blessing of same sex unions in this church, which we regard as a departure from the historic Faith and Order of the Church, and to request Diocesan Convention to do the same. The results were exactly the same as in the first vote.
Resolution #3: To support the efforts of our Bishop and Standing Committee to network with other Dioceses in the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion in order that we can be united together in mission and ministry, along with other mainstream Anglicans around the world, and that the results of these efforts be reported to Diocesan Convention for our consideration. Yes - 63; No - 2; Abstain - 6
Resolution #4: To reaffirm the practice in our Diocese of the last 12 years that allows each congregation to determine annually what percentage, if any, of their Diocesan assessment will be sent to support the Budget and Program of the General Convention. The results were very similar: Yes - 63; No - 5; Abstain - 1
After consulting with several other bishops and our own Standing Committee, I have decided to issue the Call for a Special Meeting of the Convention of this Diocese to take place at 2 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 27, at the Church of St. Peter & St. Paul in Arlington. Official notification of this is now in the mail to all clergy and lay delegates to Convention, along with the Resolutions to be acted upon. You may find them posted on the diocesan Web site. No other business will be transacted. Due to the subject matter of the proposed Resolutions, it is necessary that the Convention consider them prior to the meeting of the Primates of the Anglican Communion on October 15-16, 2003. Our regularly scheduled Annual Convention is not to take place until the second weekend in November.
Pray for the Church, for Her mission and unity and strength - both here and throughout the world. And pray also for all members of this Diocese, that we may be totally obedient to God, fully loving toward one another, and completely submitted to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. May God save us from schism, hard heartedness, and error. May He lead us in the ways of righteousness, charity and truth.
Faithfully in Christ,
The Rt. Rev. Jack Leo Iker
Bishop of Fort Worth
Following are the resolutions to be considered by clergy and lay delegates to the Special Diocesan Convention on Saturday, Sept. 27.
Resolution # 1: CONSTITUTIONAL IDENTITY
The Church in the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth is a constituent part of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America, acceding to and recognizing the Constitution and Canons of the Episcopal Church, and is thereby a constituent member of the Anglican Communion, a Fellowship within the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church, of those duly constituted Dioceses, Provinces, and regional Churches in communion with the See of Canterbury, upholding and propagating the historic Faith and Order, as set forth in the Book of Common Prayer. Article I of the Constitution of this Diocese states that "no action of General Convention which is contrary to Holy Scripture and the Apostolic Teaching of the Church shall be of any force or effect in this Diocese."
Resolution #2: UNCONSTITUTIONAL ACTIONS OF THE 74TH GENERAL CONVENTION
The Church in the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth holds that the 74th General Convention of the Episcopal Church has exceeded its authority and departed from its constitution, in confirming the election as bishop of a non-celibate homosexual man and in permitting same-sex blessings, separating itself from the Anglican Communion and from the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church, directly rejecting its solemn responsibility to uphold and propagate the historic Faith and Order, as set forth in the Book of Common Prayer. These acts are thus held to be null and void, and of no effect, in the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth.
Resolution #3: APPEAL FOR INTERVENTION AND RECOGNITION BY ANGLICAN COMMUNION PRIMATES
The Church in the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth joins the call of the orthodox bishops at the 74th General Convention to the Primates of the Anglican Communion for intervention in the pastoral emergency created by these schismatic actions of the 74th General Convention. We seek recognition by the international Primates Meeting as the legitimate expression of the Episcopal Church in the United States of America, and, together with those other dioceses, bishops, clergy and congregations who continue to uphold and propagate the historic Faith and Order, seek acknowledgment as the bona fide expression both of the Episcopal Church and of the Anglican Communion in the United States of America.
Resolution #4: EPISCOPAL CARE FOR BELEAGUERED CLERGY AND CONGREGATIONS
The Church in the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth further asks the Primates of the Anglican Communion to address the matter of episcopal oversight and care, across existing diocesan boundaries, to those clergy and congregations, committed to the historic Faith and Order, in dioceses where the offending actions of the 74th General Convention have been approved or implemented.
Resolution#5: NATIONAL AND INTERNATIONAL MISSION FUNDING
The Church in the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth commits itself to funding and supporting those missionary agencies, dioceses, and structures that serve to uphold and propagate the historic Faith and Order, especially in those missionary areas adversely affected by reduced national church resources.
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