Friday, February 6, 2009

Episcopal divide in Fort Worth still wide open

From the Dallas Morning News-

Breaking up is hard to do. Just ask the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth – both of them.

There was one diocese until November, when a large majority of clergy and lay delegates voted to withdraw from the Episcopal Church. They left over what they saw as the denomination's departure from orthodox faith, including on such issues as ordaining women as priests and accepting an openly gay bishop.

The withdrawing group – led by Bishop Jack Iker – still calls itself the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth, though it has realigned with a conservative, Argentina-based province of the Anglican Communion.

On the other side, a handful of Fort Worth-area churches and contingents of several more are sticking with the Episcopal Church. They, too, are calling themselves the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth.

The groups are contesting not only the name but ownership of church buildings and other assets across the 24-county diocese.

On Saturday, the presiding bishop of the 2 million-member Episcopal Church, the Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori, will be in Fort Worth for the reorganizing of the loyalist diocese, including election of a provisional bishop.

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