The Bishop of Olympia votes no on the Northern Michigan Election

The Rt. Rev. Greg Rickel, Episcopal bishop for Western Washington, has said no.
“Each diocesan bishop will vote on consent and each Standing Committee will also be asked for consent,” Rickel said in an e-mail. “Our Standing Committee has not voted on this yet.

“I did vote at the recent House of Bishops and I voted not to consent. I intend to share some of my reasoning in a letter and I promise to send that to you as well so you can see it.”

Forrester would become bishop of the Diocese of Northern Michigan, one of the smallest in the church. Statistics released by the national Episcopal Church show that its membership has declined by 31.7 percent in the past 10 years.

Also known by his Buddhist name, “Genpo,” or “Way of Universal Wisdom,” Forrester was only candidate on the ballot when diocesan convention delegates voted last month.

Read it all.


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

14 comments on “The Bishop of Olympia votes no on the Northern Michigan Election

  1. Widening Gyre says:

    I’ve heard that the Bishop of Atlanta was critical of Rev. Forrester’s theology at the HOB meeting, as was the Bishop of Southern Ohio. These are not conservative bishops, right? It appears the issue that has traction is not the buddhist thing per se but the bishop-elect’s rather squishy theology.

  2. Steven in Falls Church says:

    Very interesting. It was +Rickel’s predecessor, +Warner, who was quoted in the diocesan newsletter that he was “excited” about the prospects for interfaith dialogue presented by the conversion to Islam of the Rev. Ann Holmes Redding, who had been a priest serving in Dio Olympia. (The Rev. Redding is about to be deposed by her canonical superior, Bishop Wolf of Rhode Island.) Maybe there is some life in the body after all.

  3. BabyBlue says:

    “I did vote at the recent House of Bishops and I voted not to consent. I intend to share some of my reasoning in a letter and I promise to send that to you as well so you can see it.”

    So the House of Bishops did hold a vote on Forrester at their recent meeting in North Carolina? One of the bishops present did blog that that Forrester was going to on the agenda but the “reports” from the House of Bishops meeting don’t mention it – nor do they mention that there was a vote. 815 did trot out two retired bishops to speak in favor of Forrester and his Buddhist meditation practices. But there hasn’t been a report to my knowledge that a vote had been held. How interesting.


  4. Bishop Daniel Martins says:

    There was not a “vote held,” per se. The bishops were given the forms for consent at the meeting. So chose to complete the forms there and be done with it. But the deadline for response is still some time away. Presumably many bishops have not yet voted.

  5. David Bailey says:

    The Bishop of Southern Ohio (Tom Breidenthal) is progressive in a few areas (SSBs being the obvious one) but is very orthodox in all areas of Creedal Christianity. He would probably have problems with a bishop candidate for whom Jesus is not “The Way, the Truth and the Life”.
    David –
    (who gained another 2 minutes of fame on ELO because I signed a petition asking Bishop Breidenthal not to consent!)

  6. A Senior Priest says:

    It would be unfair for Mrs Redding to be punished and Mr Forrester to be rewarded for the same thing.

  7. tjmcmahon says:

    #4- Fr. Dan,
    Thank you for the clarification. IF (a big if) a sufficient number of bishops were to vote “no” would this be announced immediately, or would there be time for arm twisting to get people to change their minds up until the official “closing date” for consents?

  8. Shumanbean says:

    Senior Priest, I agree with you 100%.

  9. nwlayman says:

    Interesting. Now, Bishop Rickels has clergy acros the lake in Medina, WA who refer to the Nicene Creed as strictly a “Political document”, not a statement of faith worth following. Wonder if they’ll hear from him? Anglican spine is a fleeting thing, don’t expect too much.

  10. Gator says:

    I figure the window stays open until June 21 (120 days). I presume Bishops can just hold up on signing the form to see how it goes. I think I remember from the SC case, that they can change their minds too. Standing Committees may wait until late if they want, but it’s hard to get them back together for more signatures if they have already failed to get a majority of signers. Signatures on the forms are required.

  11. Rob Eaton+ says:

    Arm twisting has been known to happen, but usually prior to the sending off of a consent. In Mark Lawrence’s case, though, I believe there was a change of mind to an already submitted consent form (due to “reconsideration”) where the answer to the question of “How?” was that it wasn’t a function of sending in the consent, but what consents were in hand at the end of the time frame.

    (BTW, The Canons require consents to be submitted; there doesn’t seem to be any public testimony of consequences administered to a bishop or Standing Committee that did not submit. The Presiding Bishop’s office has never (in my knowledge) released a tally; my take is if they did it would prove regular disregard for the Canons (and I’m not including a less than 100% vote due to vacancies of office or the occasional administrative lapses). Tallies do get announced at consecrations, but probably not all. But the only numbers announced are the numbers of consent approvals, and not the numbers of consent disapprovals. See the SWFlorida consecration video (somewhere in T1:9 or SFiF archives, I believe) as an example.)

  12. nwlayman says:

    Speaking of Ann Redding, recall Rickel’s cathedral this month ran an ad endorsing her evening presentation (tomorrow, I think) at Seattle Town Hall for her version of theology. Just why the bishop prefers Muslim/Anglicanism over Buddhist/Anglicanism should be examined. Just gets more and more complicated, doesn’t it?

  13. SHSilverthorne+ says:

    I’ll give credit where it’s due. +Rickel had legitimate concerns and acted on them. Likely, he’ll have colleagues in the HOB who’ll be critical of him for this. We’ve already read many who think Rev. Forrester’s Buddhist angle is just peachy.

    Although the Redding case and the “Genpo” one are very similar, a significant difference is that the latter involves potential consecration as a bishop. That doesn’t mean Redding+ doesn’t need disciplining, but we should remember that the you-know-what hit the fan when +Robinson was elected bishop, not when he was exercising priestly ministry. The Church at large sees the errors of a bishop as being more serious to the integrity and unity of the Church than those of a parish priest.

    It is clearly wrong when a priest embraces syncretism, but his error is generally limited to a smaller sphere of influence. When he becomes bishop the stakes are higher for those in his diocese. As bishop, he has the authority to force his theological take on subordinates. Moreover, a bishop is the face of the diocese to the greater church. If a syncretist were elected bishop, this would affect the entire diocese’s relations to the Church catholic.

    My guess would be that +Rickel had that thought in mind when he withheld consent for Rev. Forrester.


  14. Hursley says:

    Re: #5. For what it’s worth, a probably insignificant factoid is that both +Breidenthal and +”elect” Forrester-Thew served as Assistants at the same Portland, Oregon, parish (Saint Michael & All Angels) for their respective first ordained positions.