April 23, 2009
Lawsuit served on the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth

Papers naming Bishop Iker and the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth in a lawsuit seeking a declaratory judgement were served today at the Diocesan Center for Ministry. The suit was filed Tuesday, April 14, by representatives of a rival diocese formed under the auspices of The Episcopal Church. Also party to the suit is The Episcopal Church (that is, the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society) itself.

The local plaintiffs are members of two Fort Worth parishes: All Saints’ and Trinity. Elected to fill supposed vacancies in the diocesan Corporation, they are Robert M. Bass, Dr. Trace Worrell (both of All Saints’), Cherie Shipp, Fr. James Hazel, and Fr. John Stanley (all of Trinity). Also among those filing suit is the Rt. Rev. Edwin Gulick, Episcopal Bishop of Kentucky, who was named provisional bishop of the new TEC diocese.

The suit was filed late on the afternoon of the 14th, and a copy of the 22-page filing was immediately posted on the Internet. Word reached the diocese after business hours when a reporter from the Episcopal News Service contacted the diocesan communications officer to deliver the news and seek immediate comment. Other members of the media had also been informed by representatives of the plaintiffs. The suit names Bishop Iker, the diocese, and the five lay trustees of the Corporation of the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth as defendants. The trustees received notice of the suit by certified mail.

Attorneys named for the plaintiffs are Jonathan Nelson, Kathleen Wells, Sandra Liser, David Booth Beers, and Heather Anderson.

The suit seeks to replace the leadership of the diocese and gain control of its property and assets.

Deputy Constable Beverly Smythe delivers official copies of the 22-page filing to Bishop Iker.

  Bishop Iker’s April 15 comment on the suit is here.