Thursday, April 5, 2018

Fort Worth Loses -- For Now

The 2nd Court of Appeals has ruled against the Diocese of Fort Worth, finding in favor of the Episcopal Church, which claims all the property and assets of the Diocese along with its Corporation.

This appears to go against a previous decision by the Texas Supreme Court, which was in favor of the Diocese and led to the Tarrant County Court ruling against the Episcopal Church.

The Diocese of Fort Worth split from the Episcopal Church in 2009 over the denomination's endorsement of gay marriage, women priests and associated heterodoxy. The Episcopal Church then proceeded to sue the Diocese of Fort Worth for its buildings and money.

Bishop Iker anticipates that the final decision in this ongoing litigation will lie with the state's Supreme Court. The full text of his statement follows below and if the Episcopal Church finally wins, what will it do with a diocese full of empty churches. Sell them for mosques or translesbian theater workshops?

You, the reader, be the judge,



The Second Court of Appeals has issued its long-awaited ruling in our litigation, and the Court has found in favor of TEC’s arguments that TEC decides who belongs to their Diocese and that their Diocese controls the Corporation Board of Trustees, as well as all property and other assets.

Our attorneys are reviewing the 178-page opinion, and I will have a conference call with them tomorrow to discuss how to proceed. As we have said in the past, we have anticipated all along that the Texas Supreme Court will make the final decision on this matter.

As the legal battle continues, let us remain focused on the Risen Jesus and our mission to proclaim the Good News to all people.

The Rt. Rev. Jack Leo Iker
Bishop of Fort Worth
April 5, 2018


LL said...

"Sell them for mosques or translesbian theater workshops?"

I think that will be the position of the folks at Lambeth Palace. A quick buck has always been their position.

LSP said...

It wasn't too long ago, LL, that Welby was spotted on 8 Mile, pawning his regalia. So you might have a point.

It'd mean I'd be down 2 churches and 1 house but hey, whoever promised a life of ease?

Don't fear the Reaper.

LL said...

Surrender the compound to the great hoard? NEVER!

LSP said...


LindaG said...

Your second court of appeals is obviously liberal. I don't see how one church in an organization of churches is entitled to more than their one building.
But what do I know.
I agree with Reverend Iker. Remain focused on the Risen Jesus.

LSP said...

Amen, Linda.

(The Episcopal Church is suing our diocese for all of its property and money because we split from them in '09, over not wanting to ride the rainbow...)

Mattexian said...
I'm not sure how my old co-congregants are planning to divide up the property in their split.

Chas Clifton said...

Sheesh, this has been going on since the 1960s, when one of my lawyer uncles represented the diocese of Colorado in a similar suit over the breakaway Anglo-Catholic congregation St. Mary's Denver.

The diocese won -- and then the bishop gave the building to St. Mary's, if I remember right, because what else would he do with it -- sell it to someone who wanted to open a restaurant?

May you be so lucky.

LSP said...

I think it's easier for the Methodists than Episcopalians, Mattexian, but I forget the details of the comparison. Of course the problems are the same -- rank disbelief in the guise of compassion and justice, which seems to end up as a plea for transgender bathrooms, curiously.

Have you gone down the Orhtodox route? Just asking.

LSP said...

Chas -- St. Mary's Denver! Fine old church and I knew its last but one(?) Rector (RIP). They were simpler, more compassionate times.

Fortunately, I hope, we have the Tx Supreme Court on our side, which ruled out denominational deference/identity viz church property disputes in 2015. The appellate judge seems to have ignored this so we'll see if the TSC will hear our appeal and put things to rights.

Failing that, it's start up afresh or, like Pittsburgh, reach some kind of mediated agreement with the Episcopalians. So, we'll see.

Such an evil drag on our part of the Church.

Chas Clifton said...

No, I walked out the door. I was not mad at anyone -- the rector of St. Luke's, Fort Collins, was a sincere, hard-working parish priest -- I heard that he worked himself into a nervous breakdown at one point, later on. The probably gay-but-celibate curate never acted improperly toward any of us altar boys.

But it all just stopped making sense to me as a cosmological system. Christianity stopped at the edge of town, it seemed, and I wanted to be Out There.

Now you know.

LSP said...

I'm glad the clergy were OK, Chas, and I remember you saying something like the above years ago.

For me, the cosmology of it all makes sense enough but it is fantastical. Speaking of Out There, the Desert Fathers made every effort. I've always wondered how they ate, presumably the most isolated were brought food and the others farmed by oases, or something like that.

But regardless, be careful in that wilderness!

PS. May have to repost Guy on a Buffalo...

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