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From the Bishop

Reflections on the 27th Annual Convention
of the diocese

What a joy and delight it was to participate in our diocesan convention this past weekend! I can tell you that after 35 years of ordained ministry, having attended annual conventions year after year, both here and in two other dioceses, seldom can they be described as joyful or delightful! Too often they are contentious, boring, and frustrating! But let the record show that this one was indeed very different! It was a great experience, and I think that everyone who attended will agree.

All six resolutions were adopted unanimously and without dissension! Gone were the contentious debates of the past between opposing sides! We spoke with one mind and one voice.  Likewise, everyone was in agreement about the need for the proposed amendments to the diocesan Constitution and Canons. We even agreed on the adoption of a budget of over $1,981,000 and parish assessments to support it, without one dissenting vote!

In the 27-year history of diocesan conventions here in Fort Worth, this was the first time we ever seated five new congregations. We didn’t just talk about church growth – we saw it! Eleven new clergy were introduced and welcomed. Also unprecedented was the presence of ecumenical guests from both the Orthodox Church and the Roman Catholic Church who brought us greetings and assured us of their prayers and partnership in the Gospel. Archbishop Dmitri spoke to us on behalf of the Orthodox Church in America, and Fr. James Hart read a letter to us from Bishop Kevin Vann of the Catholic Diocese of Fort Worth. Resolutions calling for dialogue on church unity with both bodies received the unanimous support of the clergy and lay delegates.

The recurring themes in the various reports made to the Convention echoed the points in the sermon of Nashotah House Dean Robert Munday at the opening Eucharist: world mission, evangelism and youth ministry.  How blessed we are to be in a diocese that is so clearly mission-minded, focused on sharing the Good News with others, and committed to ministry with our young people!

While maintaining our membership as a diocese in the Anglican Province of the Southern Cone, we acceded to the Constitution and Canons of the newly organized Anglican Church in North America. We give thanks to God for the continuing primatial oversight of Archbishop Greg Venables and for the godly leadership of Archbishop Bob Duncan. United with them, let us move forward together in mission in the coming year, standing firm in the faith once delivered to the saints!

May the work of this diocese continue to be a joy and delight in all the days ahead!

The Rt. Rev. Jack Leo Iker
Third Bishop of Fort Worth
Feast of St. Leo the Great
November 10, 2009