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From the Bishop

Dear Friends,

I have recently returned from being away for 10 days to participate in the College of Bishops meeting and national Assembly of the Anglican Church in North America, which was held at St. Vincent’s College, just east of Pittsburgh. The highlight of the meeting was the election of a new Archbishop to succeed our first Archbishop, Robert Duncan, whose term of office expired at the conclusion of the Assembly on Saturday.

Archbishop BeachI am delighted with the selection of Bishop Foley Beach to serve as our Archbishop for the next five years. He is of the same mind as we are on the question of women in holy orders, and he shares our appreciation of the rich catholic tradition of Anglicanism. At the same time, he has close connections with evangelicals and charismatics and is highly regarded by them. I knew him as a parish priest before he became a Bishop in 2010, and we have served together for many years on the board of the American Anglican Council, where we have become good friends and allies. Do keep him and his family in your prayers as he undertakes this new ministry. I believe he will serve the Province well in the coming years.

During the Provincial Council meeting, Dean Ryan Reed was elected to the Executive Committee, composed of six ordained and six lay members. This is a significant leadership role and a great distinction, as this small group works closely with the Archbishop in setting the agenda and direction for the ACNA in the years ahead.

The Diocese of the Western Gulf (headquartered in Houston) was admitted as our newest diocese, and a Special Jurisdiction for the Armed Forces was established, bringing to 29 the total number of dioceses. It was reported that ACNA military chaplains now rank third in the total number of active chaplains, surpassed only by Roman Catholic and Baptist chaplains.

In the past five years, some 488 new congregations have been started, and about 60 of them are Hispanic churches. The total number of ACNA churches has increased by over 40% in the first five years! While mainline denominations continue to report declining memberships year after year, ACNA shows consistent growth every year both in total membership and in our average Sunday attendance. Many of our newest members are not former members of other denominations, but are new converts to the faith who have been baptized as adults. This is indeed a very encouraging trend.

Music at Thursday massWe were honored that a small group from our own Iglesia San Miguel in Fort Worth was invited by Archbishop Duncan to provide the music for a special Spanish-language mass on Thursday morning.  Bishop Alberto Morales of Quincy celebrated the mass, Bishop Eric Menees of San Joaquin gave the homily in both Spanish and English, and our own Fr. Salvador Ordonez from Iglesia Santa Anna in Lake Worth read the Gospel lesson. 

We were very pleased that on Friday night Bishop Bill Wantland Bishop Wantlandwas one of 10 men and women awarded the “Passing the Torch” medal from Archbishop Duncan at his retirement banquet. Each recipient, the Archbishop noted, was particularly gifted and had make a critical contribution “at such a time as this” in the founding and development of the ACNA in its formative years.

I am grateful to those who represented Fort Worth at this important gathering.  Our clergy delegates were Ryan Reed, Tom Hightower and Chris Culpepper. Our lay delegates were Glen and Debbie Petta and Thom Murrell, and our young adult delegates were Cooper Morelock and Joseph Francis. It was a very positive and inspiring experience for all of us. We give thanks to God for the many ways he has blessed the ACNA in these formative years since being organized in 2009.

Other reports and additional stories about the Assembly program and speakers may be found on the ACNA Web site. Best wishes for your summer plans. My family and I will be away on vacation during July.

Faithfully in Christ,

The Rt. Rev. Jack Leo Iker
Bishop of Fort Worth
June 30, 2014