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Fort Worth files property lawsuit

23 April 2009

by Pat Ashworth

THE REORGANISED Episcopal diocese of Fort Worth has filed a lawsuit to recover diocesan property and assets, after a majority voted with Bishop Jack Iker last year to leave the Episcopal Church in the United States and realign with the Anglican Church of the Southern Cone of America

A statement from the office of the Episcopal Presiding Bishop’s office said: “We feel sorrow that the former diocesan leaders took such actions that led us to this time. How­ever, this is a necessary step in order for the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth, comprised of Episcopalians of the full theological spectrum, to continue its gospel work in Texas.

“In other court venues, the courts have ruled in favour of the Episcopal Church, and we anticipate a favourable outcome in this case.”

Despite “courteous demand”, said a press release from the diocese, “the defendants and others continue to use the name and seal of the Diocese and maintain posses­sion over diocesan property . . . and significant funds.”

The diocese now aligned to the Southern Cone accuses those who have remained in the Episcopal Church of masquerading as the Episcopal diocese of Fort Worth. Its spokeswoman, Suzanne Gill, is quoted in the Star-Telegram newspaper as saying: “We’ve done everything we can think to do to communicate that we’re ready to make a settlement with any congregation that wants to stay with the national Church, and we’d like to work this out without going to court.”

She also said that local backers would bankroll Bishop Iker if it came to what the paper called “a court fight”.

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