Thursday, November 30, 2006

Bishops Decline Invitation to Second Summit

Released by The Diocese of Fort Worth on November 27, 2006:

The Rt. Rev. Robert Duncan, Bishop of Pittsburgh, and the Rt. Rev. Jack Leo Iker, Bishop of Fort Worth, have declined an invitation from the Rt. Rev. Peter Lee, Bishop of Virginia, to attend a second Summit Meeting of bishops requesting Alternate Primatial Oversight with the Presiding Bishop and two co-conveners, Bishop Lee and the Rt. Rev. John Lipscomb, Bishop of Southwest Florida. In fact, none of the bishops of those dioceses that have requested APO will be attending. The proposed meeting was scheduled to begin today. The first Summit, convened at the request of the Most Rev. and Rt. Hon. Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury, was held in September at the offices of the Church Pension Group in New York City. Bishop Iker enumerated the reasons for the decision in a reply he sent to Bishop Lee on Tuesday, Nov. 21, on behalf of Bishop Duncan and himself.

The full text of the reply is as follows:

Dear Peter,

I am responding to your e-mail from yesterday on behalf of Bob Duncan and myself regarding the proposed meeting for November 27th. He and I have agreed that the following points must be made at this time:
Our position has been the same since the last day of our New York meeting back in September. We will not attend another meeting "to continue the conversation" unless there is a specific proposal on the table to provide APO. Apparently this is not the case for next Monday. You speak of a skeleton, but nothing has been shared with either of us. We assume the other side has seen your proposal.
We made a specific proposal to the Archbishop of Canterbury back in July, and we shared this document with you and John Lipscomb as the conveners of the September meeting. You did not share it with all of the other participants at that time, and it was never discussed.
We note that David Booth Beers has been quoted in the press as telling the meeting of The Episcopal Majority several days ago that Alternative Primatial Oversight is not going to be provided. The Presiding Bishop's office has not denied his claim, and we have concluded that she agrees with David's assertion.
We agree that mediation is required at this time to move toward a negotiated settlement. The time frame you propose for the 27th is insufficient for significant progress to be made in this regard, and we would need additional parties in attendance in order to participate in such negotiations.
We believe the situation has deteriorated significantly in recent weeks with threats of lawsuits against bishops appealing for APO and of declaring "vacant sees." We note that we are now tagged as "problem dioceses" and that we will continue to be monitored by the property task force headed by Bishop Sauls. We also note that this task force is going to cultivate relationships with persons in our dioceses who oppose the position taken by our diocesan conventions. Such posturing is meant to intimidate us and does not promote dialogue and conversation about the matters before us. I have been advised that legal counsel should accompany me to any future meetings with representatives from 815 or the General Convention.
Should you elect to proceed with your meeting on Monday, please know that you will be in our prayers and that Bob and I wish you good success.

Sincerely, +Jack L. Iker

Contact: Suzanne Gill Director of Communications The Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth

Peter Frank Director of Communications The Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh

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