One Parish Vestry Speaks out on the Election in Northern Michigan: Just Say No

Posted by Kendall Harmon

(With permission--KSH).

GRACE EPISCOPAL CHURCH
405 Glenmar Avenue
Monroe, Louisiana 71201


March 7, 2009

To the Bishop Ordinary and Standing Committee of the Diocese of Western Louisiana

Rt. Reverend Sir, ladies and gentlemen of the Standing Committee:

Following prayerful consideration we write to urge that you vote no, and that you withhold consent, to the confirmation of the Rev’d Kevin Thew Forrester as the next bishop of the Diocese of Northern Michigan. We cite two concerns: the process used in selecting candidates by the Diocese of Northern Michigan and the suitability of the candidate himself.

In regard to the process by which nominations were made, the committee charged with this task presented one candidate for election. On the surface, presenting a single candidate raises immediate issues about the transparency of this process. Why was a single candidate presented? Was no one else seen as qualified to stand for election? Should we be concerned there was a small group of people trying to control the process?

Though we are mindful that search committees for rectors do sometimes distill the result of their search process to a single preferred candidate, we are nonetheless mindful of the fact that had the Diocese of Northern Michigan asked the House of Bishops to elect a bishop for them in lieu of holding a diocesan election, which is provided for in Canon III, paragraph 11, section 1b, the House of Bishops would have been required by national canon to present a minimum of three persons to stand for election. This begs the question, “if it is appropriate for the House of Bishops, why is it not appropriate for the Diocese of Northern Michigan?”

Regarding the Rev’d. Forrester’s suitability, he is on record as being both a practicing Zen Buddhist who received lay Buddhist ordination and a Christian. Whereas these two faith traditions may not be mutually exclusive to one another in the life of a lay person, the vows required of a Bishop in Christ’s one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church exclude a person from being beholden to any other faith tradition save Christianity—no matter how complementary to Christianity other traditions might seem.

In the liturgy for the ordination of a Bishop, the candidate is first required to state their belief that the scriptures of the Old and New Testament contain all things necessary to salvation, and that they will conform to the doctrine, discipline and worship of the Episcopal Church. If one takes this question seriously, does a person holding dual religious allegiances forswear himself or herself upon making this declaration? Later in the service, the candidate is required to affirm, “Christ’s sovereignty as Lord of lords and King of kings.” Again, is this possible if one holds to two faith traditions simultaneously? Finally, the candidate is asked if they will the guard the faith, unity and discipline of the Church. Can this be done with integrity when one qualifies their response to the affirmation by claiming to also follow another religious tradition?

We hope and pray that you will keep these concerns in mind as you prayerfully consider voting on the question of granting or denying consent to the confirmation of the next bishop of Northern Michigan. We most strongly urge you to decline to give your consent.

Your Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Gregg L. Riley, Rector C. Joseph Roberts, III, Sr. Warden

David Waller, Jr. Warden Jodi Lyle, Treasurer

Cindy Fisher, Secretary Max Cox, Vestry Member

Gerry Emerel, Vestry Member Tom Mason, Vestry Member

Amanda Reeves, Vestry Member Bryan Caldwell, Vestry Member



Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: Northern Michigan* Theology

12 Comments
Posted March 29, 2009 at 1:15 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]



1. Spiro wrote:

Re: “.....Rev’d. Forrester’s suitability, he is on record as being both a practicing Zen Buddhist who received lay Buddhist ordination and a Christian. Whereas these two faith traditions may not be mutually exclusive to one another in the life of a lay person, the vows…....”

I disagree with the statement that Zen Buddhism and Christianity “may not be mutually exclusive to one another in the life of a lay person”.

A Christian, lay or ordained, has no business practising Zen Buddhism. Period. In Christianity, we have all that is needed for the proper worship of God and for the enrichment of our spiritual health.

I still don’t understand why liberals and revisionists are always in love with, and seeking out for anything Eastern. I sincerely don’t know from where this motivations comes.

Bottom line: Even the fact that a practising Buddhist is being considered for the most spiritual post of a bishop in the Church should be enough for every Anglican to cry out to God and say: Lord save thy people! What in the world is going on!!

Fr. Kingsley Jon-Ubabuco
Arlington Texas

March 29, 3:42 pm | [comment link]
2. dawson wrote:

Every person should speak out to his or her vestry to appose this nomination. Though he may be a Christian he should be able to see that this would be a stumbling block to many.

March 29, 4:52 pm | [comment link]
3. John Boyland wrote:

Why seeking out things Eastern?  It’s been happening for a long time:  From Jeremiah 2:

  11 Has a nation ever changed its gods?
    (Yet they are not gods at all.)
    But my people have exchanged their Glory
    for worthless idols.

  12 Be appalled at this, O heavens,
    and shudder with great horror,”
    declares the LORD.

  13 “My people have committed two sins:
    They have forsaken me,
    the spring of living water,
    and have dug their own cisterns,
    broken cisterns that cannot hold water.
...
  18 Now why go to Egypt
    to drink water from the Shihor
    And why go to Assyria
    to drink water from the River

The people of the kingdom of Judah forsook God and went with the gods of Assyria.  They were searching for spiritual water, since they had forsaken the true water through disobedience to God.

March 29, 5:01 pm | [comment link]
4. Grandmother wrote:

My goodness, how can it be that a “parish” dare to write the Standing Committee, AND the Bishop, telling them “how to vote”.. 

Hasn’t been that long since some folk threw a fit when it was suggested that our diocese might vote this way at convention.

It is truly wonderful to see “some” stand up for God’s truth, no matter what!
Grandmother

March 29, 5:44 pm | [comment link]
5. Brian from T19 wrote:

A Christian, lay or ordained, has no business practising Zen Buddhism. Period. In Christianity, we have all that is needed for the proper worship of God and for the enrichment of our spiritual health.

I still don’t understand why liberals and revisionists are always in love with, and seeking out for anything Eastern. I sincerely don’t know from where this motivations comes.

Zen is simply a meditation technique.  It does not proclaim a different God.  We seek out Eastern traditions because the East has always had a better understanding of the working of the Holy Spirit in the life of the believer and of the Church.

March 29, 8:46 pm | [comment link]
6. dawson wrote:

. #5
Do the eastern religions proclaim the Holy Spirit? I don’t recall buda, hindu or mohammad following Christ teachings

March 29, 9:36 pm | [comment link]
7. Statmann wrote:

Just maybe one should lighten up a bit on Northern Michigan. The diocese has only 27 parishes which are aging rapidly. The ASA for 26 of these parishes is 50 or LESS. My question is: why would anyone want to be the bishop? The Rev. Forrester must be very fond of purple.      Statmann

March 29, 10:01 pm | [comment link]
8. NewTrollObserver wrote:

There might be some very good reasons to go East.

First, there are Christian churches in the East.

Secondly, Abraham came from the East (east of Europe, at least).

Third, Jewish tradition suggests that some of Abraham’s sons went to India, establishing religious traditions there.

Fourthly, there’s a Muslim tradition that the garden of eden was located in Sri Lanka.

Fifth, Blessed Catherine Emmerich (of Mel Gibson’s “Passion” fame) related ecstatic visions regarding sacred geography area north of Tibet.

Sixth, the East is the direction of the rising sun. The Jerusalem Temple faced East. Early churches faced East, towards the expected direction of the Advent.

March 29, 10:21 pm | [comment link]
9. dawson wrote:

Again what about Christian tradition? These people should be witnessed to and told of the greatness of Christ! Look to Romans 14:13. Perhaps if the good people of Michigan had a bible believing Christian who had the passion and conviction of the Holy Spirit there churches would be energized. But wouldn’t all of TEC!

March 30, 6:03 am | [comment link]
10. Brian from T19 wrote:

Do the eastern religions proclaim the Holy Spirit? I don’t recall buda, hindu or mohammad following Christ teachings

The Orthodox Church.

March 30, 8:34 am | [comment link]
11. Pb wrote:

I did not realize that The Orthodox Church was that close to Buddhism. Or that the Holy Spirit inspired eastern religions. But then I have never been to an Eoiscopal seminary.

March 30, 2:59 pm | [comment link]
12. libraryjim wrote:

I think the Orthodox Church would be surprised to learn this, too, Pb.

March 30, 6:25 pm | [comment link]
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