News for Week Ending 8/18/2008
Fort Worth diocese explores Rome linkEvents took a surprising turn in the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth last week. The Dallas Morning News reported August 12 that four priests from the diocese met with the local Roman Catholic Bishop, Kevin Vann, on June 16. They presented the bishop with a document critical of both The Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion. Under the heading “Proposal,” the document (available here) says: “We request that the Catholic Diocese of Fort Worth provide guidance and assistance as we look for a new way that would lead our Diocese into full communion with the Holy See.” The Diocese of Fort Worth has always been heavily Anglo-Catholic, and its bishop, the Rt. Rev. Jack Iker, is one of two diocesan bishops of The Episcopal Church who will not ordain women.
Bishop Iker issued a statement August 12 denying that the priests were representing the diocese or its bishop, and he asserted that the plan “to realign with an orthodox Province as a constituent member of the worldwide Anglican Communion” at the November diocesan convention was still in place. The diocese distanced itself further from the actions of the four priests in a statement issued August 16 and reported here.
Quincy diocese issues “resource”According to Episcopal News Service (story here), the Diocese of Qunicy (Ill.), led by the other diocesan bishop in The Episcopal Church who does not ordain women, the Rt. Rev. Keith Ackerman, sent a 35-page document to all Quincy Episcopalians. The document, “The Church in Crisis: A Resource for the Diocese of Quincy” was sent using the mailing list of the diocese’s newsletter. A DVD of a Fort Worth presentation by the Southern Cone’s primate, the Most Rev. Gregory Vanables, was also included. The Southern Cone was the realignment destination for the Diocese of San Joaquin, as it appears to be for Pittsburgh, Fort Worth, and now Quincy. According to The Living Church, the diocese will consider a vote to realign at its annual convention on November 7–8.
“The Church in Crisis” represents the views of those supporting realignment. Moreover, as Anglicans Online so delicately put it: “There is considerable disagreement among observers as to whether all of the statements made in that document are actually true.”
Bishop Scriven to leave PittsburghBishop Henry Scriven, who has been an assisting bishop in Pittsburgh since 2002, announced August 15 that he will be returning to England to begin work January 1, 2009, with the South American Missionary Society (SAMS). He will leave Pittsburgh in mid-December. The Living Church reported the news here, after an announcement was posted on the diocesan Web site here. Letter from Bishops Scriven and Duncan to the people of the diocese are available on the latter page.
In his letter, Scriven wrote, “[M]y decision does not reflect any change of heart regarding realignment or my confidence in the vision and leadership of the diocese.” Echoing this, Duncan wrote, “Henry is committed to our re-alignment and to helping us through this fall’s decisions, as well as to serving us in the first months after our vote on October 4.”