Presiding Bishop releases "statement" on the overwhelming vote by the Episcopal Diocese of Ft. Worth to separate from The Episcopal Church

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November 15, 2008

Statement from Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori on the actions of the Diocese of Fort Worth

November 15, 2008

The Episcopal Church grieves the departures of a number of persons from the Diocese of Fort. Worth. We remind those former Episcopalians that the door is open if they wish to return. We will work with Episcopalians in the Diocese of Fort Worth to elect new leadership and continue the work of the gospel in that part of Texas. The gospel work to which Jesus calls us demands the best efforts of faithful people from many theological and social perspectives, and The Episcopal Church will continue to welcome that diversity.

The Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori
Presiding Bishop and Primate

BB NOTE: We’re not even going to get into this “primate” business, or what Bishop Lee used to call “prelates.” If that doesn’t call the remaining Virginia Episcopalians on both sides of the aisle to shudder, I don’t know what will.

Since this seems to have achieved a kind of Form Letter Status now, let us compare this “statement” with the one put out last week when the Episcopal Diocese of Quincy (when we learned from the TEC Presiding Bishop that anything south of Chicago is concerned southern – and we all know what that infers) as well as the “statement” put out following last month’s departure of the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh.

Here is last week’s statement by the Presiding Bishop on the Episcopal Diocese of Quincy:

We lament the departure from The Episcopal Church of some individuals in southern Illinois. The Episcopal Diocese of Quincy remains, albeit with fewer members, and we are working to assist in the reorganization of diocesan affairs. We assure all, both Episcopalians and former Episcopalians, and members of their surrounding communities, of our prayers for clarity and charity in their spiritual journeys. May all be reminded that the gospel work of healing this world will take the best efforts of every person of faith.

Katharine Jefferts Schori on the Episcopal Diocese of Quincy

And then we had a little more verbose statement from Bishop Schori when the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh voted to separate last month:

I believe that the vast majority of Episcopalians and Anglicans will be intensely grieved by the actions of individuals who thought it necessary to remove them from The Episcopal Church. I have repeatedly reassured Episcopalians that there is abundant room for dissent within this Church, and that loyal opposition is a long and honored tradition within Anglicanism. Schism is not, having frequently been seen as a more egregious error than charges of heresy. There is room in this Church for all who desire to be members of it. The actions of the former bishop of Pittsburgh, and some lay and clergy leaders, have removed themselves from this Church; the rest of the Church laments their departure. We stand ready to welcome the return of any who wish to rejoin this part of the Body of Christ. We will work with remaining Episcopalians in Pittsburgh to provide support as they reorganize the Diocese and call a bishop to provide episcopal ministry. The people of The Episcopal Church hold all concerned in our prayers – for healing and comfort in time of distress, and for discernment as they seek their way into the future.

Katharine Jefferts Schori on the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh

Here we go, creative writing-workshop-style, sentence by sentence:

Sentence #1:

Ft. Worth: The Episcopal Church grieves the departures of a number of persons from the Diocese of Fort. Worth.

Quincy: We lament the departure from The Episcopal Church of some individuals in southern Illinois.

Pittsburgh: I believe that the vast majority of Episcopalians and Anglicans will be intensely grieved by the actions of individuals who thought it necessary to remove them from The Episcopal Church.

Sentence #2

Ft. Worth: We remind those former Episcopalians that the door is open if they wish to return.

Quincy: The Episcopal Diocese of Quincy remains, albeit with fewer members, and we are working to assist in the reorganization of diocesan affairs.

Pittsburgh: I have repeatedly reassured Episcopalians that there is abundant room for dissent within this Church, and that loyal opposition is a long and honored tradition within Anglicanism.

Sentence #3

Ft. Worth: We will work with Episcopalians in the Diocese of Fort Worth to elect new leadership and continue the work of the gospel in that part of Texas.

Quincy: We assure all, both Episcopalians and former Episcopalians, and members of their surrounding communities, of our prayers for clarity and charity in their spiritual journeys.

Pittsburgh: Schism is not, having frequently been seen as a more egregious error than charges of heresy. (that was Bishop Lee’s original quote at Diocesan council – quoting someone else – which is quite interesting, but seems to have been dropped from the later “statements” so we’ll add “Sentence #5” to this section as well). There is room in this Church for all who desire to be members of it.

Sentence #4

Ft. Worth: The gospel work to which Jesus calls us demands the best efforts of faithful people from many theological and social perspectives, and The Episcopal Church will continue to welcome that diversity.

Quincy: May all be reminded that the gospel work of healing this world will take the best efforts of every person of faith.

Pittsburgh: The actions of the former bishop of Pittsburgh, and some lay and clergy leaders, have removed themselves from this Church; the rest of the Church laments their departure (Pittsburgh got both “grieves” and “lament” which was split up between Quincy and Ft. Worth later, therefore, since this statement was more verbose, we’ll add the final three sentences from the Pittsburgh statement here as well). We stand ready to welcome the return of any who wish to rejoin this part of the Body of Christ. We will work with remaining Episcopalians in Pittsburgh to provide support as they reorganize the Diocese and call a bishop to provide episcopal ministry.

Meanwhile the Diocese of Eu Claire may just dissolve entirely or merge with the Diocese of Fond du Lac. Hello? Hell0?