The Rev. William Spaid, canon to the ordinary of the diocese of Western Michigan, says bishop Robert R. Gepert supports the bishop-elect of Northern Michigan, the Rev. Kevin Thew Forrester.
Consent either already has or will be given for Thew Forrester’s election, Spaid said this morning.
A spokeswoman for the Diocese of Massachusetts also confirms today (4/30/09) that Bishop Shaw and the diocesan standing committee have also given their consent.
Further down the Eastern seaboard, the Diocese of New York has voted to withhold consent, a member of the standing committee reports.
Meanwhile, a continent away in Stockton, Calif., an official in the Diocese of San Joaquin says Episcopal Bishop Jerry Lamb also supports giving consent to Thew Forrester.
In Western Michigan, diocesan officials know and like Thew Forrester. “We’ve all worked with him in the past and we feel like he’s an appropriate choice to be the Episcopal leader in the diocese of Northern Michigan,” said Spaid.
Asked for his thoughts about about the theological and liturgical objections to Thew Forrester’s election, including his rewriting of the baptismal covenant and the Easter Vigil liturgy, Spaid said “I was not aware of any of that.”
But he confident that the election process was appropriate and that Thew Forrester will be an able leader. “He’s a faithful person, a community builder, devout,” Spaid said.
As I’ve been reporting on this story, I’ve talked to several diocesan officials across the country who don’t know the details of the theological and liturgical objections to Thew Forrester.
The stories by the Episcopal News Service, thus far, have focused exclusively on objections to Thew Forrester’s Buddhist practices and the unusual election process employed by the Northern Michigan diocese. None of them that I’ve found lay out concerns about Thew Forrester’s commitment to the doctrines and liturgy of the church.
Since these concerns have been detailed, in writing, by numerous bishops across the theological spectrum, it’s somewhat puzzling that the news service is ignoring these concerns. Nonetheless, the debate isn’t being aired in all of the nation’s dioceses.