Saturday, November 15, 2008

Fort Worth Diocese officially breaks away from Episcopal Church

This just in...the last one, Ft. Worth, votes to leave.

The Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth broke away from the Episcopal Church today, becoming the fourth U.S. diocese to withdraw since late last year.

Fort Worth Bishop Jack Iker championed the move, arguing that the Episcopal Church has strayed from orthodox Christian faith in various ways, including allowing women priests and approving an openly gay bishop.

'“The Episcopal Church we once knew no longer exists. It’s been hijacked,” Bishop Iker said.

Clergy and lay delegates, by about an 80 percent margin, approved the secession at the diocese's annual convention, held in a packed school gym in Bedford.

They were to decide later today on whether to realign with a conservative, Argentina-based province of the worldwide Anglican Communion.

Bishop Iker has said that five to six of the diocese’s 55 churches, and perhaps 4,000 of its 19,000 congregants, will remain with the Episcopal Church.

A legal showdown with the Episcopal Church is likely over church buildings and other assets.