Wednesday, February 25, 2009

In Response to Northern Michigan...

This is just for the folks in the Diocese of Southern Ohio. A few of us are going to encourage the Bishop and Standing Committee to vote no in response to the confirmation of Rev’d Rev. Kevin Thew Forrester as the next Bishop of Northern Michigan. This is not meant to be snarky or mean spirited but an honest attempt to live in a community that is called to accountability one to another. If you agree with the contents of the letter and wish to be a signatory, please do so under the comments link at the bottom of this post.

February 24, 2009

To the Bishop Ordinary and Standing Committee of the Diocese of Southern Ohio

Rt. Reverend Sir, ladies and gentlemen of the Standing Committee,

We hope you will prayerful consider voting no to the confirmation of the Rev’d Kevin Thew Forrester as the next bishop of Northern Michigan. Our reasons for asking you to vote against this confirmation are rooted in two concerns; the process used in selecting candidates by the Diocese of Northern Michigan and the suitability of the candidate himself.

In regard to the process by which nominations were made, the committee charged with this task presented one candidate for election. On the surface, presenting a single candidate raises immediate issues about the transparency of this process. Why was a single candidate presented? Was no one else seen as qualified to stand for election? And of course the perception of this makes one wonder whether there is a small group of people trying to control the process.

Is there any precedent for requiring more than one candidate? Had the Diocese asked the House of Bishops to elect a bishop for them in lieu of holding a diocesan election, which is provided for in Canon III, paragraph 11, section 1b, the House of Bishops would have been required by national canon to present a minimum of three persons to stand for election. This begs the question, “if it is appropriate for the House of Bishops, why is it not appropriate for the Diocese of Northern Michigan?”

Regarding Rev’d. Forrester’s suitability, he is on record as being both a practicing Zen Buddhist who received lay Buddhist ordination and a Christian. Whereas these two faith traditions may not be mutually exclusive to one another in the life of a lay person, the vows required of a Bishop in Christ’s one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church exclude a person from being beholden to any other faith tradition save Christianity—no matter how complementary to Christianity other traditions might seem.

In the liturgy for the ordination of a Bishop, the candidate is first required to state their belief that the scriptures of the Old and New Testament contain all things necessary to salvation, and that they will conform to the doctrine, discipline and worship of the Episcopal Church. If one takes this question seriously, does a person holding dual religious allegiances forswear themselves upon making this declaration? Later in the service, the candidate is required to affirm, “Christ’s sovereignty as Lord of lords and King of kings.” Again, is this possible if one holds to two faith traditions simultaneously? Finally, the candidate is asked if they will the guard the faith, unity and discipline of the Church. Can this be done with integrity when one qualifies their response to the affirmation by claiming to also follow another religious tradition?

We hope you keep this information in mind as you prayerfully consider voting no to the confirmation of the next bishop of Northern Michigan.

Your fellow servants,

Rev'd. Jeff Queen, Rector of All Saints', Portsmouth
Rev'd. Dave Halt, Rector of St. James, Westwood
Rev'd. Dr. David Bailey, Rector of St. Stephen's, Cincinnati

David Kern, Christ Church, Glendale
Lee Daily, All Saints', Portsmouth
Vicki Daily, All Saints', Portsmouth
Adelaide Leitzel, Christ Church Glendale
Shannon Walker, St. George, Dayton

Thursday, February 12, 2009

The Velvet Reformation

The place of gay people in the church is one of the bitterest disputes in Christianity since the Reformation. The Anglican Church is trying to have it both ways—affirming traditional notions of marriage and family while seeking to adapt its teachings to the experiences of gays and lesbians. Presiding over the debate, gently—too gently?—prodding the communion toward acceptance of gay clergy, is Rowan Williams, the brilliant and beleaguered archbishop of Canterbury. He’s been pilloried from all sides for his handling of these issues, but his distinctive theology and leadership style may offer the only way to open the Anglican Church to gay people without breaking it apart.

Take time to read this article in the current Atlantic Monthly.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

A Good Sermon

Take the time to listen to this sermon on the healing of Simon Peter's mother-in-law from the Very Rev'd. Kelvin Holdsworth, Provost of St. Mary's Cathedral, Glasgow.

...Notwithstanding the fact that I believe in a progressive society, we still have our demons. The demon of Sectarianism still stalks this city and I suspect may be on the rise. The demon of anti-Semitism rears its head hanging on the coat-tails of an ugly war against the people of Gaza. The demon twins Xenophobia and Racism are nothing new and not too difficult to recognise – but I fear the danger that they will grow stronger and fitter as they feed off the bitter pickings of economic recession and fiscal gloom.

Notwithstanding the fact that I work in an open, inclusive congregation, I know that the demon Homophobia is still so fit and well in the church that we have learned to live with it as though it is normal. Anti-gay attitudes and prejudices are the unwelcome guests at every Anglican table and have been promoted even this week by the international meeting of Primates of the Anglican Communion. Such things have become so familiar that we are in danger of learning how to live with them. Such accommodation is an accommodation with evil....

Read or listen to the sermon here.

Monday, February 09, 2009

Fort Worth is moving on...

About 400 delegates and overflow visitors who filled the 116-year-old Trinity Church and its parish hall on Fort Worth's south side for a February 7 special organizing convention celebrated being "called to life" anew and getting back to the business of being the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth.

About 19 clergy and 62 lay delegates representing 31 congregations unanimously elected the Rt. Rev. Edwin "Ted" Gulick, bishop of Kentucky, as provisional bishop by a voice vote in clergy and lay orders. Gulick, who will serve as provisional bishop until at least mid-year while continuing to serve the Diocese of Kentucky, received a standing ovation and sustained applause.

Read it all here.

Friday, February 06, 2009

A Good Laugh

I always think it's good to laugh at ourselves from time to time. It keeps us humble. Enjoy...

Monday, February 02, 2009

People of the Book...

But actually no, this is not going to be a post about inerrancy or the little battles between the fundamentalists and the rest. My point here is a different one. During the conversations (or maybe I should say declarations, there wasn’t much give and take) every so often someone would quote from the Bible. And what struck me was that people were quoting from different versions and translations, some of which were familiar to me and some of which definitely were not. One person used the following quote: ‘Those who want to come with me must say no to the things they want’. I guessed that this must be from Matthew 16, but the particular form of words was entirely new to me. By googling it later I discovered that it was from a version called ‘God’s Word’, which I suspect is a paraphrase rather than a translation.

Take time to read this interesting article.

Primates gather in Egypt...

The first day of the Primates Meeting in Alexandria has ended with the dedication of St. Mark's pro-Cathedral and the installation of new dean, the Very Revd. Samy Fawzy Shehata.

In an often moving service the Archbishop of Canterbury, assisted by dean Samy who translated the Sermon in Arabic, spoke of the importance of recognizing the God’s presence in the St Mark’s.

"As we dedicate this cathedral we ought to be praying that this is a place where Jesus is alive. When we step into this church and experience Jesus' life of prayer, it changes the way we see things.

The Archbishop also spoke of the importance of recognizing the holiness of prayer in others.
"The person praying next to me is a person in whom Jesus is praying….try to see the force of energy of Jesus' life in them. When I diminish them, I am in danger of destroying Jesus' voice in them."

Read the enitre article here.