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Ft. Worth Via Media "Dismayed at Bishop Iker's Decision"

An Open Letter to the Right Rev. Jack L. Iker, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth, Texas

October 28, 2005

Dear Bishop Iker,

Fort Worth Via Media is an organization of Episcopalians in the Diocese of Fort Worth who are going to remain in the Episcopal Church of the United States of America. Our purpose is stated on the front page of our newsletter which you receive. It is to support, promote, and educate interested parties concerning the religious doctrines and historical role of the Episcopal Church in the United States of America (ECUSA), to advocate openness and acceptance of all persons in the life and governance of ECUSA, and to provide balanced and accurate information concerning potentially divisive issues facing The Episcopal Church in the United States of America. That is our purpose and it will remain our purpose.

As a matter of fact, the Fort Worth Via Media did not start until it was realized by many Episcopalians that a number of bishops (including yourself), clergy and lay members began to foment schism in the Episcopal Church. The formation of the Anglican Communion Network, followed by statements from Bishop Duncan and others and the schismatic letter of Rev. Geoff Chapman have caused deep distress in many Episcopalians that the Network is planning to leave the Episcopal Church. In your own posting on the diocesan web site you stated, "If the Episcopal Church decides to walk away from the Anglican Communion, this Diocese will not depart with them." Other actions you have taken, such as cutting off funds to ECUSA except in cases where parishes wish to send a portion of their funds to the national church, and your disassociation with other bishops of ECUSA by not attending House of Bishops' meetings, whereby you plan other activities on those dates even when you know those dates are set three years in advance, have sent strong signals to the parishioners of this diocese that you do not intend to relate to the Episcopal Church. Your close association with African bishops rather than ECUSA bishops, the fact that Archbishop Peter Akinola has removed the Archbishop of Canterbury from his church constitution, and recent mentions of the formation of a Reformed Anglican Catholic Church have heightened our concerns about your intentions.

I wish to address the letter that I have received from you today canceling the Via Media booth at the forthcoming diocesan convention. In your letter you accuse Via Media of attempting to remove the legitimate authorities in this diocese following General Convention. This statement is wrong. There is no coup planned. You have been gravely misinformed, possibly by David Virtue or some other Network sources that have shamelessly twisted the facts surrounding the leaked draft minutes of the Via Media USA steering committee. I must inform you of the true facts concerning that meeting. Via Media has no intention of overthrowing the canonically chosen authorities in this or any other diocese. In this current environment of serious threats by the Network to leave the Episcopal Church, the Steering Committee of Via Media USA discussed proposed actions in the context of formulating a recovery plan should dissident bishops and clergy decide to leave the Episcopal Church after General Convention 2006. An actual reading of the leaked draft minutes show that they are exclusively concerned with how to handle the eventuality of this occurrence. The discussions were aimed on how to maintain the continuity of the Episcopal Church in those dioceses where the bishop and diocesan leadership abandon the Church. It is a plan of recovery rather than a coup.

You see, you and others have been so bold in your actions to destroy the Episcopal Church that we have felt it necessary to plan for actions to preserve the unity of the Church IF you and others decide to leave. We have told you before that there will continue to be an Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth should you leave. We, in conjunction with the ECUSA leadership, will do what is necessary to replace all those who have left the Church in order to keep this diocese properly functioning to care for the loyal remnant of Episcopalians.

Concerning another aspect of your letter to me regarding parish directories, we feel that it is our duty to keep parishioners properly informed of the happenings in the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion. We also feel that each person has the right to determine if they wish to read our newsletter or not. As a matter of fact, in our newsletter, we provide people with the opportunity and method to be removed from our mailing list if they choose to do so. Our last distribution was to 950 addresses. To date we have had one clergy and three lay members give us notification to be removed and they have been removed.

I am dismayed at your decision to exclude our booth at the forthcoming diocesan convention for I feel that your decision was based on erroneous information. Fort Worth Via Media is an ad hoc organization. Should the threat of schism in our diocese be overcome, we will have accomplished our purpose. In the large majority of the other dioceses of ECUSA where there is no threat of schism, where they live in the spirit of via media, they do not have organizations named Via Media to remind them that the Episcopal Church is an inclusive church.

In closing, I would like to quote the Archbishop of Wales who states, "Anglicanism at its best is the realization that none of us possesses the truth and never will do so and that we have to listen to one another and bear with one another because that is how Anglicanism has evolved and no one possesses the whole truth."

Yours in Christ,

George Komechak, President
Fort Worth Via Media

Cc: Clergy of the Diocese
Fort Worth Via Media

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