The Presiding Bishop has officially informed the Diocese of Northern Michigan that she has not received consent from a majority of the Standing Committees of the church to the ordination and consecration of the Rev'd Kevin G. Thew Forrester as bishop, and therefore the election is null and void (you can read it here).
Much reaction - prior to the PB's statement as well as now - has decried a conservative campaign against the bishop-elect, a resistance to creativity and innovation and change, and an unwillingness to countenance any new ways to imagine the episcopate (such as the proposed team approach in N. Michigan) - all fueled by the malevolent pressures of blogs and internet.
As a member of a Standing Committee that withheld consent, I have long wanted to say those things are all no doubt true - AND, there have also been thoughtful, reasonable people (enough, in fact, to constitute a majority of the 110 Standing Committees of the Episcopal Church) who examined the evidence, read the bishop-elect's sermons and writings and liturgical creations, studied the materials from the diocese, and concluded that his theological positions and liturgical changes were beyond what one would look for from a bishop of the Church. Yes, the Episcopal Church does have standards.
Either the elected lay and clergy leaders (in the form of the Standing Committees) of the church are nastily reactionary (the recent General Convention would seem to suggest otherwise), or they are so clueless as to have been led around by the nose by those terrible bloggers -- or perhaps the process of review and consent can be entered into carefully and faithfully and will sometimes - very rarely - produce a "no", even when that is disappointing and difficult for a diocese and its bishop-elect.
Holy Spirit and holy empathy - I'm interested in what I see as an inherent invitation to empathy in the way the vote results were made known. I'm also intrigued by some of the responses ...
1 week ago