The Bishop of Arkansas Votes No on Northern Michigan

The Rev. Larry Benfield, the Episcopal Bishop of Little Rock, has voted against the confirmation of Kevin Genpo Thew Forrester as bishop of Northern Michigan.

In an interview with the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, Benfield said he was concerned that Thew Forrester had altered the denomination’s rite of baptism without the approval of the broader church. The rite is included in the Book of Common Prayer.

Instead, Thew Forrester has used and promoted a “Trial Baptismal Liturgy” which removes any mention of Satan and adds New-Age style language.

Read it all.


Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Episcopal Church (TEC), Liturgy, Music, Worship, TEC Bishops, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Northern Michigan

12 comments on “The Bishop of Arkansas Votes No on Northern Michigan

  1. Timothy Fountain says:

    Whoa, go to the link and read the first comment. Where did this “Anglican thousand faces of God” position come from?

  2. Dilbertnomore says:

    Close to toast.

  3. Jon says:

    A T19 reader (I can’t remember who just now) presciently observed that, now that Genpo had become such an embarrassment for them, a number of moderate and liberal bishops and dioceses would begin to vote against him, but on procedural rather than theological grounds. Benfield is a good example. He is not opposed to someone who eviscerates the apostolic faith — he just objects to the guy not following the correct procedure in doing so.

    The T19 reader also argued that Genpo’s bid for the mitre, if it does fail, will be used by TEC moderates and liberals as proof for how deeply committed they are to the Nicene faith.

  4. Philip Snyder says:

    While I am not a supporter of +Benfield. I don’t see where his main concern is process. He talks about Forrester’s modification of the baptismal rite and addition of new age spirituality (actually, it is “old age” spirituality, but let’s not get picky)

    Phil Snyder

  5. Fr. Dale says:

    1. Timothy Fountain,
    [blockquote]Like many liberal Episcopalians, while I will tolerate no end of doctrinal variance, I cannot accept the bastardization of the Book of Common Prayer.[/blockquote] The comment in the link brings a smile to my face. Basically this individual is saying that the BCP has replaced scripture as one of the legs of the stool for liberal Episcopalians.

  6. Choir Stall says:

    Does anybody know how Neff Powell of Southwestern Virginia voted? Where to find out?

  7. Jon says:

    Hi Phil. Read what Benfield says again. He does not object to Forrester’s modification of the baptismal rite because the modifications Forrester chose are a betrayal of the faith once delivered, but because Forrester made them without going through the appropriate process: i.e. getting the proposed changes approved by the Prayer Book committee and then by General Convention.

    There is nothing in the article that suggests Benfield would be opposed to a priest using an altered baptismal liturgy (altered in the apostate direction that bothers you and me) had the alterations been debated via due process by TEC’s HOB and approved by a majority. He objects to Forrester’s liturgy twice and both times invokes the fact that the alterations hadn’t been approved by the correct process.

    Now… it’s possible that the reporter is misrepresenting Bishop B. Maybe the bishop emphasized two objections: that the alterations had never been approved by TEC (a process objection) and even worse the alterations chosen were a deep betrayal of the apostolic faith first given. That last isn’t mentioned in the article.

    Or perhaps Bishop B, when he says that F’s innovations to the prayer book should have been debated and approved first by the broader church — maybe he meant the entire church catholic. If so, it’s a surprising claim, and one that is hard to imagine how it would be implemented: how do we get approval from all the rest of the church for each new version of the prayer book? Does he object to the 1979 BCP, which certainly wasn’t approved by the broader (non-ECUSA) church?

  8. A Senior Priest says:

    After having read the liturgy, if a person having received this ritual presented him or herself for membership on grounds of having been baptized I’d have to conclude that a conditional baptism would be necessary to remedy the defects of the first attempt.

    I predict: Mr Forrester will be abandoned by his erstwhile supporters in the HoB and as a result the revisionists will be able to paint themselves as orthodox to the world, in preparation for further changes in the Faith Once Delivered at GC2009.

  9. trooper says:

    Dead on there, Jon. The description of Bishop Iker that TEC is the General Convention Church is more than apt. If GenCon says it is Biblical, Apostolic, and generally good with God, then it is… at least as far as TEC goes. Once you accept the Polity (which, to be fair, the opposition keeps reminding us of), you’ve got to wonder what kind of situation you’ve gotten yourself into.

  10. j.m.c. says:

    anyone keeping count? It seems to me that with the many “no’s” and the real possibility many will simply not respond, as happened with +Lawrence, there is a very real possibility he won’t get the necessary consents.

  11. Fr. Dale says:

    #7. Jon,
    I think your emphasis of the word “process” is key in understanding why and how KTF is being thrown under the bus. This allows TEC the wiggle room to continue innovation without having to backtrack. The word “process” was also the key objection to the actions of TEC in the Windsor Report. TEC had violated process. Trooper wrote (#9) “The description of Bishop Iker that TEC is the General Convention Church” essentially that the only “process” that counts for TEC is THEIR process. I disagree with A Senior Priest (#8) that TEC even cares whether other provinces think that it is orthodox. They believe they are orthodox within their own tradition and that is defined by process and canons not theology. Are the words “moderate” or “conservative” even accurate descriptors of any leaders still in TEC? This may be true in a relative sense within TEC but when compared with the rest of the WWAC, these words may no longer apply.

  12. Karen B. says:

    Choir Stall,
    To my knowledge Neff Powell voted Yes. Someone e-mailed me that +Powell wrote of his yes vote in a letter to the clergy of the diocese of SW VA following the HoB meeting, but I have been unable to obtain the text of the letter, so, right now this is still “hearsay” – though I think fairly solid hearsay. +Powell is the only bishop I’ve heard of who has voted yes, though I would imagine there are some others out there (+Ely of Vermont and +Caldwell of Wyoming and +KJS all seem like possible yes-voters given their intimate involvement in and approval of the N. Michigan “election”) process.

    My current count for bishops is at 15 NO votes and 1 Yes (Powell of SW VA), but I’ve seen other lists (see Anglican Centrist’s blog entry here: ) that take us up to 20 NO votes and only 1 Yes.

    It’s interesting that the Yes voters are being so silent.