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ACNA diocese expands into Episcopal Diocese of Dallas

ACNA diocese expands into Episcopal Diocese of Dallas

“It is with real joy that we embark on this collaboration, particularly since the Diocese of Fort Worth was generously formed out of a portion of the Episcopal Diocese of Dallas. Almost 40 years on, we hope to return the blessing and support strong and growing ministry in Dallas.” – the breakaway Diocese of Fort Worth

The breakaway Anglican Church in North America will expand into the diocesan boundaries of a conservative Episcopal Diocese, the Episcopal Diocese of Dallas headed by Bishop George Sumner. Sumner’s diocese is one of the most conservative in The Episcopal Church.

The breakaway’s announcement follows years of legal wrangling in which the breakaway Fort Worth diocese recently took possession of six churches held by Episcopal Church congregations. The US Supreme Court declined to take an appeal brought by loyalists to The Episcopal Church. That left in place a Texas Supreme Court ruling favorable to the breakaway group.

The draw of ACNA churches in the territory of Episcopal dioceses changes the conservative v. liberal balance in those dioceses as more conservative persons exit Episcopal congregations to join ACNA congregations.

The breakaway ACNA group calling itself (confusingly) The Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth announced plans to create a Missionary District of Dallas. Ultimately the plans are for it to become a diocese of ACNA.

ACNA churches are not recognized by the Anglican Communion. There remains an Episcopal Church diocese presence which for legal reasons and to distinguish itself from the ACNA entity calls itself The Episcopal Church in North Texas.

The press release of the breakaway group follows:

THE EPISCOPAL DIOCESE OF FORT WORTH
The Rt. Rev. Ryan S. Reed, Bishop
April 16, 2021

Concerning a proposed Missionary District of Dallas

There have been numerous overlapping jurisdictions in the Anglican Church in North America since its founding; for many this is an encumbrance on ministry, especially if a bishop is hundreds of miles from his flock. Bishop Ryan Reed, who served on the ACNA Executive Committee before his election to the episcopate in 2019, is committed to the historic pattern of geographic diocesan structures, which continue to foster the best pastoral care for clergy and people.

In the Dallas area of North Texas, there have been numerous diocesan affiliations, including Churches for the Sake of Others (C4SO) and our diocese. After consultations with Bishop Todd Hunter and others, a draft petition (over Bishop Reed’s signature) has been developed which has yet to be approved by the College of Bishops. However, some planning steps and bridge-building are under way. In accord with ACNA Canon 5 and Canon 12 of Title I, the proposal would establish a Missionary District of Dallas, to operate temporarily as a Deanery of the Diocese of Fort Worth. The petition cites common aims of church planting, evangelism, compassionate ministry, and equipping disciples.

This arrangement would continue until the congregations in the Missionary District are ready to form a new diocese. Up to four churches from the Diocese of Fort Worth and the same number from C4SO are in the process of discerning affiliation with the District. Churches from other Anglican jurisdictions are invited to participate in discernment, or perhaps simply partner in ministry with the District. As a first sign of fellowship, the clergy of Christ Church attended our Mass of Collegiality at St. Vincent’s Cathedral during Holy Week. Full approval of the proposal may be granted by the College of Bishops in June. If the undertaking is a success, it may become a model the province will implement elsewhere.

It is with real joy that we embark on this collaboration, particularly since the Diocese of Fort Worth was generously formed out of a portion of the Episcopal Diocese of Dallas. Almost 40 years on, we hope to return the blessing and support strong and growing ministry in Dallas.

Contact: Suzanne Gill
Director of Communications
sgill@fwepiscopal.org
c: 817-271-1116

 

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The Rev. Rebecca Tankersley

This is a terribly-written article and is, if I give you the benefit of the doubt, incredibly misleading. ACNA may well be exploring the idea of planting churches in the greater Dallas geographic area; however, it is patently untrue to say that it is “expand[ing into the Episcopal Diocese of Dallas.” The title of this article suggests that there is some sort of agreement or cooperation between ACNA and EDOD. The photograph of the Bishop of Dallas at the top of the article furthers this untruth.

I have been in touch with EDOD today. My contact firmly denied any work with ACNA for expansion with EDOD. Moreover, I am advised that you used the image of the Bishop of Dallas without his knowledge or consent. My reaching out with questions today prompted by this article was the first they’d heard of this piece. Check your facts before you write and publish!

Bob Button

I only wish The Diocese of Dallas would put the same level of effort in supporting the actual Episcopal Church in Fort Worth as it does ACNA.

The Rev. Rebecca Tankersley

See my posted comment above. Terribly written article. Misleading at best.

JoS. S. Laughon

Te Deum. Glad to see Classical Anglican worship & doctrine being expounded in Texas.

Harriet Warnock-Graham

Is there actually a real Episcopal Church in Fort Worth. What is being done for women, and gay Episcopalians who are stuck in Fort Worth? How did ACNA get it’s hands on Episcopal Churches?

Jon White

Yes, there most definitely is a “real” Episcopal presence in Fort Worth. It never went away, even when a number of parishes and diocesan leaders quit TEC, a faithful group carried on and is still there.

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