Judge John Chupp of the Tarrant County ruled in favor of the breakaway Episcopalian group.
The group broke away from the national Episcopal Church in Fort Worth in 2008 over disagreements in same-sex rights, Bishop Katharine’s theology and an openly gay bishop. These differences split the church, with some members following with Bishop Jack Iker, a former bishop for the Episcopal Church. Only a segment of the fight has been settled, with an appeal the follow in the coming months to determine what to do with the rest of the funds and properties.
Episcopal Church “Disappointed, but Hopeful”
In a one-page order, Judge Chupp allowed the breakaway diocese and his followers to keep ownership over their properties, except for All Saints Episcopal Church of Fort Worth. Iker explains why All Saints was exempt in a comment to the Christian Post: “they are only incorporated parish in the diocese and claim to hold title to some property in the name of their corporation.”
The Diocese shared their own statement, saying that they “rejoice with Bishop Iker and join him in giving thanks to God for this ruling. We pray for a quick resolution to the remaining claims and disputes.” They are disappointed by the ruling, but hopeful for the future, according to Bishop Rayford B. High Jr. He says the “sacred property was built up over 170 years in this part of Texas by generations of Episcopalians for the use of the Episcopal Church.” They intend to keep it for use by the following generations of Episcopalians. They are “confident going forward under the rulings of the Fort Worth Court of Appeals and Texas Supreme Court.”