NEW YORK (AP) – Leaders of the Episcopal Church have rejected the appointment of a bishop-elect who denies that Satan exists, doesn’t believe God sent Jesus Christ to die for the world’s sins, and teaches that many paths lead to salvation.
The Diocese of Northern Michigan’s election of the Rev. Kevin Thew Forrester was declared “null and void” yesterday. Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori says he failed to receive the necessary consent from a majority of Episcopal bishops and diocesan committees.
Thew Forrester also has been criticized for blending elements of Christianity and Buddhism. In a 2004 diocesan newsletter, Thew Forrester said he had “received Buddhist ‘lay ordination.”‘
Bloggers also have criticized Thew Forrester for calling a reading from the Quran “the word of God.”
‘Two styles of being Anglican’
Meanwhile, the Archbishop of Canterbury says Anglicans — of which American Episcopalians are a part — may have to accept a “two track” communion that embraces churches with conflicting beliefs about homosexual clergy and same-sex unions.
Rowan Williams wrote on his website yesterday that there are “two styles of being Anglican” and that both sides should work to keep the church together.
Williams is the Anglican spiritual leader. His comments are in response to the U.S. Episcopal Church’s decision to lift a moratorium on homosexual bishops and to allow blessings of same-sex unions.
The Rev. Ian Douglas, who serves on the Executive Council of the Episcopal Church, says this is what happens when what he calls “local leadings of the Holy Spirit bump up against received tradition in the church.” He says the question is whether there are any “limits to diversity” in Anglican beliefs.