ENS: Northern Michigan Bishop-elect, election process scrutinized

[The Rev. Rayford] Ray told ENS that while Thew Forrester has served the diocese since 2001, names of potential candidates for bishop were received from “throughout the Episcopal Church and the wider Anglican Communion.” A diocesan report said that names of 28 people had been received, 11 of those people completed the paperwork, and one person eventually dropped out.

He said there is “precedent” for putting forth only one name as candidate. In the most recent instance, in 2007, Mark Lawrence was the only candidate to be bishop of the Diocese of South Carolina. Lawrence was first elected from among several candidates on September 16, 2006, but Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori later declared that election “null and void” because of defects in six of the needed 56 affirmative responses from diocesan standing committees. Required to hold a second election, the diocese nominated only Lawrence.

Ray noted that it is standard operating procedure in congregations looking for a rector, where a call committee typically discerns a number of candidates and, in the end, submits one name for the vestry’s final approval.

Oh please. The parallels with the South Carolina process are almost nil. Mark Lawrence was originally elected out of a slate of a number of finalists, as everyone knows. He was then rejected by the Standing Committees for the first time in a huge amount of time in the history of the Episcopal Church. It was only because of that rejection that South Carolina met again in Convention and voted on one nominee. There was no original process in Northern Michigan with several nominees, and there was no rejection of the election subsequently. If in the first South Carolina election on the bishop to succeed Edward Salmon there has been only one nominee, there would have been a hue and cry down here, and there should have been had that been the case.

In any event, read it all–KSH.


Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Bishops, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Northern Michigan

9 comments on “ENS: Northern Michigan Bishop-elect, election process scrutinized

  1. Creighton+ says:

    OK, yep, I knew this comparison was soon to be made but it is not a valid one.

    There were three candidates at the electing Convention. The problem was a canonical change in how Bishops and Standing Committees could give their consent. Some responded by email, which was no longer acceptable. This resulted in the Presiding Bishop declaring that Consent had not be received. South Caroling had made its choice. At the second Electing Convention the Rev. Mark Lawrence was the only candidate, but let’s put this in the proper context. He had been chosen at the original Electing Convention and SC was not going to be denied by recently changed procedures regarding the consent process. The Diocese of SC did not only put up only one candidate at the Electing Convention!!! It followed procedures carefully with respect for the Constitution and Canons. Something Northern Michigan did not do. No matter how you look at it, what Northern Michigan did is Constitutionally and Canonically wrong. But this does not address the larger question can one who has received lay ordination as a Buddhists be a Christian. Buddhism and Christianity are different belief systems. They are incompatible and it is time to say so.

    But to argue that what Northern Michigan did was not unprecedented by using the South Carolina example is simply twisting the facts….Sadly, this is quite common in TEC but it must be vociferously refuted when this argument is made.

    People need to get their facts straight and this article has it totally wrong…….

  2. A Floridian says:

    I Kings 12:31-33 speaks to those who would install unqualified priests and turn the faith away from the worship of the One True God.

  3. Creighton+ says:

    It should also be noted comparing the calling of a Rector with the Election of a Bishop is again comparing two completing different matters….

    They are not the same and trying to use this as an argument for the uncanonical and unconstitutional actions of the Diocese of Northern Michigan is unconscionable.

    Try as many will, the Constitution and Canons were not followed and the candidate is unqualified. Consent by Bishops and Standing Committees must be denied.

    Whether this will happen is questionable, but there the evidence is clear.

  4. Fr. Dale says:

    He said there is “precedent” for putting forth only one name as candidate

    The continual reliance on Precedent in TEC is evidence that when it gets away with something then it can use the example to craft new policy. Precedent in this case as already mentioned in not comparable but in other cases are just examples of codified error that went unchallenged for example, the means whereby Bishops have been deposed.

  5. Bob G+ says:

    I thought the very same thing when I read the article. His case has very little resemblance to Lawrence’s. I don’t think this argument will get much traction – at least I hope not.

  6. Irenaeus says:

    Rayford Ray’s arguments evince a shame deficiency.

  7. moheb says:

    I was not planning to add to the comments, but the second half of the ENS article, essentially defending the practice of Zen Buddhism as a way to deepen spirituality for Christians made it hard not to respond.

    Regarding the practice of Zen Buddhism Mr. Forrester writes (emphases mine): “The way of the Buddha isessentially about waking up to [b]who we are, and what creation is – utterly one and sacred.[/b] There are many streams of Buddhism, but the essence of Zen Buddhism is learning to sit quietly, resting in our sacred breath, facing our fears, and [b]coming to see for ourselves that we are one with all creation [/b]. Zen offers a method, you might say, to see what Jesus saw in his own baptism: that we are indeed beloved by God. There is no need to cling to anything in the desperate hope that it is what will make us acceptable before God. [b]All of creation is always already accepted by God as it is” [/b]”[http://www.upepiscopal.org/Hiawathaland/CIHJulyAugust04.pdf].

    To defend the practice ENS quotes Fredrica Harris Thompsett, Episcopal Church theologian and professor emerita from Episcopal Divinity School “They can be practiced [b]without detriment to doctrine [/b], and they are being restored today in all sorts of Christians.”

    If Mr. Forrester and Theologian Thompsett see nothing in Mr. Forrester’s statements that is “detrimental to doctrine” I wonder what “doctrine” they hold!

  8. Harvey says:

    The results of a Christian being led astray by becoming involved in any non-christian faith can be very devasting. Lord open his eyes that he may see what he is doing!

  9. The Lakeland Two says:

    Ray’s theory won’t fly in Central Florida, especially in our parish.

    I”m on our search committee for our new rector and the process we’ve been instructed to use will be to ween down and present three candidates to the vestry and they make the decision. And that’s how it was done about 7 years ago as well.