Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth (ACNA)
|Diocese of Fort Worth|
Seal of the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth
|Ecclesiastical province||Anglican Church in North America|
|Cathedral||St. Vincent's Cathedral, Bedford|
|Bishop||The Rt. Rev. Jack Iker|
|The Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth|
The diocese is divided in 6 deaneries, each one headed by a dean, which are:
- Fort Worth East (those churches located on the eastern side of the City of Fort Worth)
- Fort Worth West (those churches located on the western side of the City of Fort Worth)
- Eastern Deanery (those churches located in suburbs on the eastern side of Tarrant County, as well as churches in Dallas County and the states of Arkansas and Louisiana which have left TEC and joined ACNA)
- Western Deanery (those churches located on the western side of Tarrant County, as well as churches in counties generally west of Tarrant County)
- Southern Deanery (those churches located in counties generally south and southwest of Tarrant County, as well as churches in Houston which have left TEC and joined ACNA)
- Northern Deanery (those churches located in counties generally north and northwest of Tarrant County)
The current bishop is Jack Iker, SSC.
The controversial separation between it and the identically-named Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth in the Episcopal Church arose out of events in 2008, when the 26th annual convention of the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth voted to remove the diocese from the Episcopal Church and join the Anglican Church of the Southern Cone.
At the time of the vote in 2008 to separate from the Episcopal Church, the diocese had geographically fixed boundaries covering 24 counties in Texas and claimed 19,000 members. Afterward, in accordance with the non-geographical concept of dioceses in the Anglican Church of North America, it began to accept congregations outside its previous territory. In November 2012, the diocese reported 62 congregations, of which 60 are in Texas, one in Louisiana and one in Arkansas. The cathedral of the diocese is St. Vincent's Cathedral in Bedford.
Position in the Episcopal Church
The Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth came into being in 1983 and, within the Episcopal Church, was long seen as a leader of Anglo-Catholics and other theological conservatives within American Anglicanism. The diocesan bishop, Jack Iker, SSC, was the last diocesan bishop in the Episcopal Church who held that a bishop could not ordain women to the priesthood.
In 2006, most of the fifty-one parishes in the diocese affiliated with the Anglican Communion Network, an association of dioceses, parishes, and clergy working to counteract what its members consider a liberal shift in doctrine and practice that abandons or ignores traditional teaching and discipline.
The Episcopal Church maintained that the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth was still a part of the Episcopal Church and that only the individuals in favor of these motions have left the Episcopal Church. The decision of convention was challenged by a minority of members from few parishes (the vote to leave TEC was 72 to 19 clergy and 102 to 25 laity), who have since reorganized and remain within the Episcopal Church with the Rt. Rev. Ted Gulick as provisional bishop. Following the vote of diocesan convention to leave the Episcopal Church, the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, Katharine Jefferts Schori, declared that Bishop Iker was inhibited from exercising his office as a bishop in the Episcopal Church, on the grounds that he had violated Title IV, Canon 9, by abandoning the Doctrine, Discipline or Worship of the Church. In response, Iker rejected the authority of the Presiding Bishop. Thus, the Presiding Bishop, on December 5, with the advice and consent of her Council of Advice (bishops who are the presidents or vice-presidents of each province), deemed that Iker had renounced ordained ministry and declared him removed from it.
The Standing Committee of the Diocese, which in the absence of the bishop would be the highest ecclesiastical authority of the diocese, regarded the subsequent inhibition of Iker as an "illegal, unconstitutional, and uncanonical attempt to interfere with the rights and ministry of a diocese of another province of the Anglican Communion", thus affirming their decision to realign with the Southern Cone.
Anglican Church in North America membership
In 2009, the diocese was a founding jurisdiction of the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), whose first convention was held at St. Vincent's Cathedral. Joining ACNA therefore created a dual affiliation for the diocese, who remains affiliated to the Anglican Church of the Southern Cone of America.
The Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth currently occupies property whose ownership is disputed since the diocese's split from the Episcopal Church.
The trial court initially ruled in favor of the Episcopal Church as to ownership. However, the Texas Supreme Court ruled on August 30, 2013 to remand the case to the trial court. Specifically, the Court ordered the trial court to apply a "neutral principles of law" approach as to ownership of the property.
- Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth Parishes
- Terry Lee Goodrich (November 15, 2008). "Fort Worth Episcopal Diocese votes to leave mother church". Fort Worth Star-Telegram.
- Christian Newswire (June 22, 2009). "Anglican Church Assembly Begins". Retrieved 2009-08-25.