ENS on Northern Michigan: Bishop elected; Episcopal Ministry Support Team created
Delegates to a special convention of the Diocese of Northern Michigan held February 21 at St. Stephen's Church, Escanaba, elected a new bishop and created a support team that will share in episcopal oversight, something unique in the Episcopal Church.
The Rev. Kevin Thew Forrester, who was announced in January as the single candidate for bishop, was elected on the first ballot. In Northern Michigan voting is not carried out by lay and clergy orders, but rather by individual delegate votes and a congregational vote that represents the combined majority vote of a congregation's delegates. Thew Forrester received 67 of 76 total delegate votes cast. Of the 23 congregations represented, 21 voted for Thew Forrester.
2. robroy wrote:
These are from comments that I made at Mark Harris+ place. I appreciate that he is gracious in disagreement. The elves and Herr Doktor Statmann might think the stats are interesting.
“The percentages of votes cast in favor of the election - 88% of delegate votes and 91% of the congregational votes - are impressive.” Right. Shades of the percentages garnered by the Soviet single party votes. Also similar to the votes for the single candidate for interim bishop for the remnant diocese of Fort Worth.
Of the last eleven domestic bishops, 9 of them came from the same diocese (+Mark Lawrence and +Prince Singh were the exceptions). It does have the smell of nepotism.
Then one of the readers objected to and was offended by the use of “nepotism.” So I wrote:
Father Weir, I knowingly chose the somewhat incorrect term of nepotism over the much more pejorative term cronyism.
I looked back at Louie Crew’s data from 90-91 (just picked those years at random) and determined the number of bishops that came out of the diocesan ranks or not (domestic bishops only).
What I found was that 1 came out of the diocese, 12 were picked from other dioceses and one wasn’t specified.
Does this phenomenon [of mostly picking one from the ranks rather than outside the diocese] explain why we are in the mess we are in? I personally can’t imagine having a lower opinion of this spineless group of “leaders.”
Then I pointed out that “Genpo” Thew Forrester has been a bureaucrat in the diocese since 2001. In that time, the diocesan attendance has shrunk 25% to an incredibly small 690. If ever was there a need for an outsider to shake things up, surely this was it.
February 25, 6:43 pm | [comment link]
3. deaconmark wrote:
Perhaps they needed someone to turn out the lights when everyone had left so naturally picked someone who would know where the switch was.
February 25, 7:26 pm | [comment link]
4. jamesw wrote:
robroy: TEC is a shrinking institution that is on the edge of a catastrophic contraction. I believe that many of TEC’s top leaders know this full well. They are also in a protracted civil war. I think that in situations like this, you tend to turn towards those most like you, those you can trust. It is also in situations like this that outsiders are increasingly feared, and in which soft authoritarianism can grow. I believe that all of these trends contribute towards the situation in TEC in which there is an increasing intolerance for dissent from the “party line” (i.e. anyone who doesn’t speak “TEC HappyTalk” is a dissenter); and an increasing turning to mediocre, local priests to be bishops.
February 25, 8:18 pm | [comment link]
5. ReinertJ wrote:
Interesting, ASA 690 with 23 voting parishes! How many clergy does this mini diocese have?
February 25, 8:28 pm | [comment link]
6. Statmann wrote:
Even more interesting (depressing?) is that the 27 churches in the diocese produced 23 Infanf Baptisms and 53 Burials in 2007. Viagra won’t fix this problem. Statmann
February 25, 9:06 pm | [comment link]
7. Words Matter wrote:
The chart program showed 27 congregations. 15 have ASA of less than 20, 5 have ASA of 20-40, 6 run 40-51, and 1 has an ASA of about 75. The interesting thing is that reading their website, including a newsletter of the southern congregations, I can find no references to priests in the diocese (presbyters are, of course, the normal “Episcopal Ministry Support Team”). There was one references to a couple of deacons and it’s possible they don’e use clerical titles.
Here’s one parish schedule.
Schedule for September
September 7th: Holy Eucharist – Rayford Ray
September 14th: Holy Eucharist – Laura Woodworth
September 21st: Holy Eucharist – Carol Clark
with this additional note:
Holy Eucharist is celebrated each
Sunday at 11:15 a.m. (central time).
There has been some discussion that
the Eucharist service may take place
on another date and time that is more
convenient for members. More discussion
will follow on Sunday, September
How is the diocese organized?
February 25, 9:07 pm | [comment link]
8. robroy wrote:
And it gets worse. Apparently Ms Schori simply ignored concerned voices that the selection process was rigged. See BabyBlue’s place.
February 26, 4:01 am | [comment link]
10. ReinertJ wrote:
Ok, so what it looks like is that they have taken untrained lay people, and ordained them to keep the parishes open. In short mass priests! They better hope none of their “clergy” ever leave the diocese.
February 26, 6:44 am | [comment link]
11. Tom Pumphrey (2) wrote:
Doesn’t the timing of this election mean that the required consents would come from bishops & deputies at General Convention (as they did for VGR)?
February 26, 1:42 pm | [comment link]
12. Karen B. wrote:
Tom, here found on Progressive blogger Lionel Deimel’s website (in a post about the consent process for Mark Lawrence) is this:
The consent process is described in Canon III.11.4(a), which reads, in part:
If the date of the election of a Bishop occurs more than one hundred and twenty days before the meeting of the General Convention, The Standing Committee of the Diocese for which the Bishop has been elected shall by its President, or by some person or persons specially appointed, immediately send to the Presiding Bishop and to the Standing Committees of the several Dioceses a certificate of the election by the Secretary of Convention of the Diocese, bearing a statement that evidence of the Bishop-elect’s having been duly ordered Deacon and Priest as to the Bishop-elect’s medical, psychological and psychiatric examination required in Sec. 3(b) of this Canon have been received and that a testimonial signed by a constitutional majority of the Convention must also be delivered in the following form: …
The Presiding Bishop, without delay, shall notify every Bishop of this Church exercising jurisdiction of the Presiding Bishop’s receipt of the certificates mentioned in this Section and request a statement of consent or withholding of consent. Each Standing Committee, in not more than one hundred and twenty days after the sending by the electing body of the certificate of the election, shall respond by sending the Standing Committee of the Diocese for which the Bishop is elected either the testimonial of consent in the form set out in paragraph (b) of this Section or written notice of its refusal to give consent. If a majority of the Standing Committees of all the Dioceses consents to the ordination of the Bishop-elect, the Standing Committee of the Diocese for which the Bishop is elected shall then forward the evidence of the consent, with the other necessary documents described in Sec. 3(a) of this Canon, to the Presiding Bishop. If the Presiding Bishop receives sufficient statements to indicate a majority of those Bishops consents to the ordination, the Presiding Bishop shall, without delay, notify the Standing Committee of the Diocese for which the Bishop is elected and the Bishop-elect of the consent.
(This is taken from the 2006 version of the canons.
General Convention 2009 begins July 8
So…. GC09 is still about 134 days away by my very quick & rough count. By my reading, that means that the consent process will be diocese by diocese. But the deadline for consents will be 120 days from when the certification of the election is sent out. If there is more than a two-week delay, that deadline would not be until during/after General Convention. That could be interesting…, it cuts it a bit close!
February 26, 2:39 pm | [comment link]
13. Billy wrote:
Who outside this diocese would take the job of bishop of this diocese? Who could afford to take it? Bp Schiori became Bp of NV before becoming PB, after never holding a head rector’s postion, because she was one of the few candidates for whom the NV Bishop’s job would have entailed a raise ... I believe her salary as Bp of NV was @ $40K. Obviously she wanted to be PB ... big raise! There is a money factor in these jobs and this one in No. MI has to be way down the list, probably bottom. So it is no wonder this fellow was elected and no one else was put forth. Likely no one else wanted the job. Being able to wear a purple shirt and a big ring only goes so far.
February 26, 5:31 pm | [comment link]