Diocese of Fort Worth (Episcopal): US Supreme Court declines to hear case

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On February 22, 2021, the Supreme Court of the United States declined to hear our cases, which means the decision of the Texas Supreme Court stands.

(20-534) ALL SAINTS’ EPISCOPAL CHURCH V. DIOCESE OF FORT WORTH, ET AL.

(20-536) THE EPISCOPAL CHURCH, ET AL. V. DIOCESE OF FORT WORTH, ET AL.

Bishop Scott Mayer said, “I know this is a disappointment to us all, but as followers of Jesus Christ, we live in hope.”

“Presiding Bishop Michael B. Curry of The Episcopal Church joins me in acknowledging our disappointment and urging all of us to be gentle with one another during this trying time, with the important goal of continuing our worship of God and our ministries in this diocese of the Church in as uninterrupted a manner as possible.

“I ask for your prayers and urge us all to stay focused on the saving gospel of Jesus Christ and on our mission and ministries in the days ahead.”

Bishop Mayer continued, ‘When we began this litigation in 2009, we did so as heir and steward of the legacy of generations of faithful Episcopalians. In the wake of this decision we remain committed to preaching the gospel as we celebrate the sacraments, care for those in need, and strive for justice and peace.”

Bishop Mayer will be meeting with clergy and lay leaders via Zoom today.

In 2008, Bishop Jack Iker and other leaders of the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth left The Episcopal Church but retained control of the vast majority of the property, which those present at the founding of the Diocese unanimously promised by signed writing to use for The Episcopal Church, its constituent diocese, and the congregations thereof. This litigation began in early 2009 when The Episcopal Church and the loyal minority who sought to uphold those promises went to court to reclaim the property, accumulated over decades by generations of Episcopalians, for the mission and ministry of The Episcopal Church.

Read Bishop Mayer’s letter

LETTER FROM THE PRESIDING BISHOP

Read the letter from Presiding Bishop Michael Curry

February 22, 2020

Dear People of the Episcopal Diocese of Ft. Worth, On behalf of your family who is The Episcopal Church, I want you to know that while we cannot know your pain and hardship, we stand with you in sorrow and disappointment that the Texas Supreme Court decision will stand. This is hard because you have been so constant and faithful in your witness to our Lord Jesus Christ and his way of love. This is not easy but, as Bishop Scott Mayer said to you, we are “followers of Jesus Christ, [and] we live in hope.” The God of love who has walked with you this far will not abandon you now. As the Bible says over and over again, “the righteous shall live by faith.”

A few years ago, while recuperating from surgery, I started praying a prayer from The Book of Common Prayer (p. 461). I have continued to pray that prayer ever since. While it is a prayer for times of sickness, I’ve found it of help in times of hardship and struggle. I pray that it will support you as it has been a support to me and many others.

This is another day, O Lord.
I know not what it will bring forth,
but make me ready, Lord,
for whatever it may be.
If I am to stand up,
help me to stand bravely.
If I am to sit still,
help me to sit quietly.
If I am to lie low,
help me to do it patiently.
And if I am to do nothing,
let me do it gallantly.
Make these words more than words,
and give me the Spirit of Jesus.

It is that Spirit of Jesus that can see us through. Professor Charles Marsh of the University of Virginia once wrote, “Jesus founded the most revolutionary movement in human history; a movement built on the unconditional love of God for the world and the mandate to live that love.” That 1st Century Jesus Movement was a movement of people for whom the teachings, example and Spirit of Jesus became the center of their lives and for whom his way of love became their way of life. And just as not even the titanic powers of death could stop him, neither could anything stop his movement of love. In spite of obstacles, hardship, and difficulty, and against all odds, their lives were changed and they changed the ancient world for the good.

We are today the Episcopal branch of that 1st century Jesus Movement. You, dear people of God, are those baptized and committed to this Jesus and his way of love today. This is nothing less than following Jesus in the work of God’s mission for the sake of the world. And what was true for them in the 1st century is true for us in the 21st. As an old hymn says, “It is no secret what God can do, what he did for them he’ll do for you.”

God love you, God bless you, and may God hold you and the entire human family and all of creation in those almighty hands of love.

Your brother in Christ,

The Most Rev. Michael B. Curry
Presiding Bishop and Primate The Episcopal Church