By Mary Frances Schjonberg, January 08, 2009
[Episcopal News Service] Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori said January 7 that she will convene a special meeting of the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth convention on February 7.
Jefferts Schori will ask the convention to elect a provisional bishop for the diocese. The agenda will include the election of lay and clergy representatives for various diocesan leadership positions and adoption of a budget. It will also include approval of governance and organizational resolutions, including ones that would declare null and void certain amendments to the diocesan constitution and canons that were advocated by former diocesan leadership as a means to take the diocese out of the Episcopal Church.
Jefferts Schori said that she would call the meeting because there is "no bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth, or any qualified members of the Standing Committee." She said in the announcement that she had consulted with "faithful Episcopalians" who form the Steering Committee of North Texas Episcopalians, the group that has led the effort to keep the diocese aligned with the Episcopal Church.
You can read the rest of the ENS story HERE. And you can read Bishop Katharine's letter HERE. There is an opinion piece in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram last week explaining how loyal Episcopalians are reorganizing themselves. You can read it HERE. Please keep the people of Fort Worth in your prayers -- all the people on all sides of these issues.
Next, there is an interesting interview in Christianity Today, generally a conservative-leaning publication, with the Rev. Russell Levenson, the rector of the largest Episcopal Church in the country, which is St. Martin's, Houston with 8,200 members. Fr. Levenson and his congregation are certainly conservative, but they aren't leaving. Though in deep disagreement with the direction of the Episcopal Church on issues of sexuality, he says no one has prevented him from preaching the Gospel. And he and others have formed a partnership within the Episcopal Church to express their views. While I do not agree with Levenson's views on sexuality issues, I am thankful for his faith and willingness engage with the rest of with us and challenge the church to remain broad by including conservatives. That is the real meaning of being Anglican, and on that we may find we agree on more than we disagree.