Court Filings in Fort Worth by Southern Cone Parties
In a continuing effort to delay a hearing on the merits of the case, Defendant Jack Iker and other former diocesan leaders on November 13 filed a petition for writ of mandamus with the Second Court of Appeals in Fort Worth, seeking a review of Judge John Chupp’s October 2 ruling on their Rule 12 motion. The court issued a temporary stay of the proceedings in the trial court. The Episcopal plaintiffs and their counsel will file responses.
Additionally, on November 17 a number of groups claiming to be congregations under the authority of former Bishop Iker and the Anglican Province of the Southern Cone and using the names of some of the Episcopal congregations in the Diocese, filed a plea in intervention.
They are seeking a declaratory judgment that they, not the continuing Episcopal congregations or the continuing Diocese or the Episcopal Church, are entitled to the beneficial use and control of the property held in trust by the Diocesan Corporation for the use and benefit of the Episcopal congregations for which the property was acquired.
The defendants and leaders of these intervening groups claim to have left the Episcopal Church and since November 15, 2008 to be under authority of the Anglican Province of the Southern Cone, yet they continue to claim authority to control real and personal property, including funds, that was acquired for the use and benefit of the Episcopal Church for more than 170 years in this diocese.
Despite the claims of the defendants and intervenors, the congregational property remains subject to the trust interest of the Episcopal Church and its Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth, under Church Canon I.7.4 (“Dennis Canon”) which since before 1982 provides that an Episcopal congregation can exercise control over the real and personal property held for the benefit of the congregation only so long as the particular congregation remains a part of and subject to the Episcopal Church and its Constitution and Canons.
Resolution 3, passed unanimously by the 27th Diocesan Convention on November 14, declares that most of the property now described in this intervention is being held in violation of that condition because it is in the possession and control of those who have left the Episcopal Church and is not being used for the mission of or subject to the Episcopal Church. In related action, the Convention also unanimously declared that certain parishes whose property is under the control of those who have left the Church are now missions.
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