I have great respect for Kevin, and great regard for the Diocese of Northern Michigan. It saddens me greatly, therefore, to tell you that I am unable to consent to this election. As I have said, many issues have been raised; I will name only one: Kevin’s revision of our liturgy of Holy Baptism.
It is of course true that ours is a living tradition, and that as the Church’s context changes, its liturgy will also change. The Church must have zones of innovation for the responsible exploration of such change. But these must be established within canonically acceptable boundaries, and they must be conducted in a way which is accountable to the whole church. I have concluded that the changes Kevin made, and the manner in which he made them, however much designed and intended to be responsible and accountable, quite simply exceeded the authority of any bishop and diocese, let alone rector and parish. It is not that the liturgy of Baptism cannot be changed, and indeed might not one day be changed; my concern is that this liturgy is so very essential to our identity and to our understanding of our mission that any revision can only be undertaken after very careful consideration by all of us, authorized only by the whole of our church through legitimate processes. Not only has that not been done in this instance; I am not confident that, for all his very immense talents and deep commitment to serve this church, Kevin will refrain from future unauthorized experimentation. In my judgment, that lack of assurance is critical.