Episcopal Church finalizes merger of 2 Texas dioceses

The courtyard of Christ Church Cathedral Episcopal Church of Houston, Texas. The Cathedral belongs to The Episcopal Diocese of Texas.
The courtyard of Christ Church Cathedral Episcopal Church of Houston, Texas. The Cathedral belongs to The Episcopal Diocese of Texas. | Mark Johnson

The Episcopal Church has voted to approve the merger of two dioceses in Texas, one of which lost its property, name and assets in court to a breakaway conservative group.

The Episcopal Church in North Texas (ECNTX), formerly known as the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth, has been seeking to merge with the Episcopal Diocese of Texas.

At the mainline denomination’s 80th General Convention, the House of Deputies approved a resolution for the merger last Saturday, while the House of Bishops approved it on Monday.

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Bishop Scott Mayer, bishop provisional of North Texas, spoke at the General Convention in Baltimore, Maryland, explaining that he was “looking forward to a wonderful future.”

“I can’t overstate the energy and excitement around what’s next, and I cannot overstate our gratitude for the generosity and the compassion shown by [Diocese of Texas Bishop] Andy Doyle and the people of the Diocese of Texas,” said Mayer, as quoted by Episcopal News Service.

“I especially am grateful for the people of North Texas, who chose from the beginning to live rather than survive and chose love over fear.”

In February 2021, the Anglican Church in North America secured control of The Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth after many years of litigation against The Episcopal Church and the local Episcopalian presence, known as ECNTX.

As a result, ECNTX had lost much of its financial assets, and all but three of its historic buildings to the theologically conservative leadership that had voted to leave the denomination.

In April, ECNTX and the Diocese of Texas announced that they were considering a merger, which they called a “reunion,” since ECNTX was originally part of the diocese.

Currently, the Diocese of Texas has a little more than 160 congregations and around 72,000 active members, while the ECNTX has 13 congregations and about 5,000 active members.

In June, the Diocese of Texas's Diocesan Council voted 526-14 in favor of the reunion proposal, with ECNTX voting unanimously to approve the reunion several days later.

“The people in Fort Worth are eager to meet and have conversation,” said Bishop Andrew Doyle following the votes, as quoted by ENS. “This is an exciting moment for the Diocese of Texas.”

In addition to being a reporter, Michael Gryboski has also had a novel released titled The Enigma of Father Vera Daniel. For more information, click here.

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