Two Episcopal dioceses in Texas took a step closer to merging when the Diocese of Texas’ Diocesan Council on June 9 voted overwhelmingly in favor of the plan. A corresponding vote is scheduled for June 18 by leaders of the Episcopal Church in North Texas, a neighboring diocese based in Fort Worth.
Under the plan, announced in April, the Episcopal Church in North Texas would cease to be a distinct diocese and would become the North Region of the Diocese of Texas, which is based in Houston. In an online session, Texas’ Diocesan Council voted 526-14 in favor of a merger. It also authorized adding an assistant bishop to oversee a newly created North Region of the diocese.
“The people in Fort Worth are eager to meet and have conversation,” Bishop Andrew Doyle said after the votes. “This is an exciting moment for the Diocese of Texas.”
Northwest Texas Bishop Scott Mayer, who also serves as bishop provisional of North Texas, issued a statement in response to the votes. “The overwhelming support of the voters at the Diocese of Texas Council for the reunification of our two dioceses is evidence, not only of the careful, thorough work of the leaders of both dioceses, but also, I think, evidence of the presence of the Holy Spirit in this process,” Mayer said.
“Many people, both lay and ordained, are working hard to make this as loving and transparent a reunion as possible, because we believe it strengthens both parties. We ask the prayers of the church as this process moves forward.”