A gloriously straightforward episcopal letter from the other side of the Atlantic

On Friday, Jan. 23, 2009, the RtRevd William C. Wantland, Assisting Bishop of Diocese of Fort Worth, received the following letter, dated January 15, from the Most Revd Katharine Jefferts Schori, Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church:

In a letter to me of November 15, 2008, the Rt Rev. William Wantland stated that as a result of the Diocese of Fort Worth’s recent attempt to realign with the Province of the Southern Cone, ‘I am…now canonically affiliated with the Southern Cone and its Primate, The Most Rev. Gregory Venables.’ Bishop Want-land then declared that ‘I am no longer a member of the Episcopal Church.’

These statements make clear that Bishop Wantland has chosen to leave the Episcopal Church and that he no longer wishes to carry out the responsibilities of ordained ministry in this Church. Accordingly, I have, with the consent of my Council of Advice, chosen this day to accept Bishop Wantland’s voluntary
renunciation of his Orders in the Episcopal Church and have removed and released him from our ordained ministry.

Bishop Wantland issued the following reply:

Dr Schori,

This will acknowledge electronic receipt on this date of a letter apparently not mailed to me, but dated January 15, 2009, purporting to ‘accept’ my letter to you dated November 15, 2008 as a Renunciation of my Orders.

As you must know, my letter specifically declared that I am not resigning my Orders’. Nowhere do I renounce or resign my Orders. My letter to you in no way comports with the provisions of Canon III.12.7.

Further, I specifically requested status in the House of Bishops of The Episcopal Church in conformity with Rule XXIV of the House of Bishops. This request has been totally ignored by you.

I can only conclude that either you (1) do not understand the plain and fairly simple language of either the Canons or my letter to you, or (2) have deliberately violated the Canons for your own purposes, and contrary to your obligation as a Christian not to bear false witness.

Further, as you acknowledge in your cover letter that I have transferred to another Province of the Anglican Communion, you therefore have absolutely no jurisdiction over me or my ministry, and your purported action of January 15, 2009, is simply null and void.

I would request a response, indicating whether you lack a basic understanding of the English language, or choose to engage in illegal activities. There is no other possible rational interpretation of your actions.


The Rt Revd William C. Wantland