3/04/2009

Questions about the Bishop Elect of Northern Michigan

The Bishop Elect of Northern Michigan has been called "The Buddhist Bishop", "The Anglican - Buddhist Bishop," and has been accused of having "dual" citizenship in two kingdoms, one with a Christian name and one with a Buddhist name, and so forth and so on. He has been been identified as marginal to the standards of The Episcopal Church, in The Episcopal Church through pretense, and a trendy innovator. Others are suspicious of the whole construct of diocesan organization along mutual-ministry models.

All of this is dumped on Keven Forrester's head as the Bishop-Elect, much of it by people who want to use him as an example of how unholy The Episcopal Church has become. First it was Wicca, then it was Islam, now it is Buddhism... see how awful TEC is? First it was messing with the real Book of Common Prayer, then it was augmenting the BCP, now it is using someone else's Book of Common Prayer or worse, no BCP at all but some batch of made up liturgies.

He is being pursued by the dogs of ecclesiastical war who chase him through the corridors of the Stand Firm site, complete with a writing campaign to ward off the evils of unbridled liberalism. The question is raised over on SF, "What can Episcopal peons do about the Buddhist Bishop?" SF has mounted a campaign to get those emails out to Standing Committees and Bishops to tell them to stop this terrible man from spoiling the episcopal soup.

The organized hounding of Fr. Forrester is furthered by the flurry of excitement over at The Living Church of discovering that Fr. Forrester used Eucharistic prayers composed by himself or his wife. The headline reads, "Controversial Bishop-Elect Composes Own Eucharistic Texts." TLC should be warned not to use this sort of headline, it will frighten the children.

We are not told whether the "youth service" and the Eucharistic prayer written for Easter Season 2008 were the prayers for normal Sunday worship or special occasions in which considerable latitude is given forming the Great Thanksgiving. But TLC certainly has the goods on Fr. Forrester. Eucharistic prayers that are written by a priest. Oh My!

TLC noted the opinion of "Canon Ralph McMichael, canon for ministry formation in the Diocese of Missouri," who "expressed concern about the texts." Canon McMichael is not alone in asking such questions. There are several who comment here on Preludium about the need to look into the matter of just what Fr. Forrester does do, write, teach and otherwise proclaim.

The people asking these questions have every reason to expect answers from the bishop-elect, or if not to them directly, at least to the Standing Committees and Bishops who must give consent to his election for it to be valid. But these questions are not the fright mongering TLC headlines, " Northern Michigan Elects ‘Christian-Buddhist’ Bishop" or the SF email campaign. They have already decided that the electors elected badly and that he is false to his calling.

Fr. Forrester already wrote in response to the question of his Buddhist meditation practice. Now perhaps we can ask him to respond to the concerns that have been raised:

Will he support the expectations of the BCP and the Constitution and Canons that limit the variations in the services of the church to those allowed by the BCP itself, or by act of General Convention, or by special permission of the bishop?

What were the circumstances, if any, under which he as a priest used eucharistic prayers not included in the above?


What would he do as bishop if one of the clergy of the diocese were to use orders of service that omitted, or provided alternate versions of the creeds? If one of the clergy used an unauthorized eucharistic prayer at the Sunday Eucharist?

Does his use of alternative eucharistic prayers or creedal statements in any way arise from reservations about the legitimacy of the words of the BCP? If so, can he indicate why he ought to be entrusted with the care for the common worship of the people of an Episcopal Church diocese?

There is lots of talk going on about Fr. Forrester. Perhaps some talk with him might be in order.

There was a time when the litmus test for consent to elections of bishops seemed to consist of knowing that there was no foul play in the election and that the bishop had indeed the right credentials (being baptized, ordained, etc). That was a narrow definition of what was needed for consent. There were of course lamentable exceptions where worthy bishops elect were maligned.

In the recent past questions were raised about bishops being elected who were never never never going to ordain women. Some suggested that the consents not be given. The narrowly defined criteria for withholding consent prevailed. That gave us some bishops who have been no end of trouble.

In recent days there has been greater scrutiny growing from various concerns. This has been a difficult but useful development. This election should be no different. Let's ask the questions in the open and in the open find the answers.

Finding bulletins of various services and leaping from there to some conclusions about what the bishop elect might or might not do as bishop is not helpful. Asking the bishop-elect some questions is.

TLC remarked that "Neither the bishop-elect nor three of the diocese’s media contacts granted interviews requested by TLC" Given the hounding going on this week it is no wonder.

We can hope that standing committees and bishops will ask useful questions by which they can be satisfied or not that consent is in order.

Meanwhile we should pray for Fr. Forrester and his family. What a way to spend Lent.

42 comments:

  1. Good on you, Mark. My guess is that the good bishop is just fine. How some of the rest of us are spending Lent...well...

    (I refer the astute to Counterlight's blog.)

    Of course, I would, wouldn't I.

    :)

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  2. What an interesting turn of events. It is not enough to have the people of the diocese elect the bishop of their choice. It is not enough to trust the vetting process of each diocese. We are a group of diocese, we are not some hierarchical papist regime. What has gotten into "Episcopalians" that do not live in the diocese. It would seem to me that it is time to allow diocese to do their own thing and to allow the laity and clergy of the diocese the courtesy of recognizing and appreciating the intelligence of those folks.

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  3. My only questions are about the election itself and its adherence to the national canons, and they are honest questions, not accusations.

    I would deeply appreciate someone explaining the objections to the election process and his "episcopal model" in a way we non-canon-lawyers can clearly comprehend.

    The issue of Zen is a non-issue - absolutely, positively - as Zen is a practice, first and foremost. It has developed within the context of Buddhism, is intimately associated with Buddhism, but has also developed strictly non-religious practices and practices for gedo - outside way, or non-Buddhist practices - in addition to the Buddhist religious practice of Zen.

    It is not a meditation on anything, not a meditation about Buddhist belief or principles.

    Those who insist on pursuing the Zen red-herring will not accept any of that, however, and will make no attempt to become less ignorant on the subject, so, I will dismiss those objections out of hand just as they dismiss Forrester's explanations.

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  4. There is nothing contradictory between Buddhism and Christianity. Cant' be a coincidence that our Lord and Lord Buddha share so many conclusions. One should be free to be a "Zen Episcopalian". Still, there might be questions about the single candidate slate they seem to have voted on.

    He sounds like a fine fellow to me. Of course many will vote FOR him just to spite "Viagrablog" and company. So many "conservative" Pentecostal/Baptist/Episcopalians in catholic drag have left what do they matter anyhow?

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  5. The hypocrisy of the left is further exposed.

    How ironic that the diocese of Northern Michigan used the single candidacy of +Mark Lawrence (in the second election) as precedent. Recall the second election was precipitated by non-canonical consent forms (faxed rather than mailed) but non-canonical consent forms were allowed for a liberal bishop in Virginia. How ironic to complain about readers of StandFirm writing their concerns to standing committees after the "Via Media" smear campaign of +Mark Lawrence.

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  6. Well, now we're back to the "Buddhist bishop" smear, I see. Shifting grounds once again.

    What is important to see is that none of this has anything to do with Northern Michigan, or its election, or its bishop-elect.

    If it did, people would have raised questions, heard answers, been satisfied or continued to raise questions.

    They wouldn't have continually shifted the ground of their arguments. They wouldn't have set a blogswarm loose to attack everywhere at once. They wouldn't have continually upped the ante. They wouldn't have used deliberately inflammatory language. They wouldn't...but you get the idea.

    This is not the behavior of people who have honest questions. I repeat: the people doing this are not honest. They are propagandists acting in bad faith. They cannot be argued with -- they have no arguments. They have to be named, and their behavior has to be exposed for what it is.

    This is not a set of questions about the election in Northern Michigan. This is an attempt to harm and embarrass the Episcopal Church. Bishop-elect Forrester isn't important in this. He's simply the means to the end.

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  7. "It would seem to me that it is time to allow diocese to do their own thing and to allow the laity and clergy of the diocese the courtesy of recognizing and appreciating the intelligence of those folks."
    Like, Fort Worth, Pittsburgh, Quincy and San Joaquin? Or is it only things that you approve that can be left to the individual diocese --not those you think are "bad?"

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  8. I don't know about Wicca, but people in the far East just don't (and never have) "belonged" to religions the way we do in the West.
    It is common in China to practice Taoist divination and medicine, honor ancestors with Confucian rites, and to leave this world with a Buddhist funeral. In Japan, it was once common to be married with Shinto rites, and to have a Buddhist funeral. Now, young Japanese want Christian weddings (they're less interested in Christianity than in appearing "Western"), and Buddhist rites for the burial of their grandparents. Such mixing of religions is unthinkable "syncretism" in the West, but has long been commonplace in the East.

    Yes, I do have a posting or 2 about this East meets West issue on my blog.

    The East certainly have had their religious conflicts, but they of an entirely different nature from the West.

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  9. Fred: With all due respect-- No, it is not "enough to have the people of the diocese elect the bishop of their choice." A bishop is by definition a bishop of the whole church, which is why the whole church is asked to offer consent. We are not a "papist regime," but neither are we a congregational tradition.

    Mark: I think you're correct that minimalist parameters being used to justify consents have given us bishops who have been no end of trouble. This is true at both ends of the "conservative/liberal" spectrum.

    Having heard Fr. Forrester's explanations of his Buddhist practices, I am satisfied they augment the Christian faith he holds and teaches, rather than threatening it. However, I will admit that I do find "using someone else's Book of Common Prayer or worse, no BCP at all but some batch of made up liturgies," to be troublesome. And I would like further explanation, including answers to the questions you ask here.

    The Book of Common Prayer is the foundational framework for the way we as Anglicans "do" church. There is nothing inherently wrong or unChristian about being a liturgical free agent; but that is not who we are. We do not need yet another bishop who wishes to redefine Anglicanism all by himself.

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  10. I would like to understand more about the thinking behind the substitution of the New Zealand "Affirmation of Faith" for the Nicene Creed. The New Zealand "Affirmation of Faith" avoids affirming the Trinity. Is the Trinity optional or essential for Anglican Bishops?

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  11. Hmmmm -
    Let's look at that reported Easter 'Eucharist' - "The fire of your Spirit kindled a love between Mary and Joseph; a fire that became the roaring flame of eternal compassion—the heart of Jesus.”

    I'm all for a fire of Christ's compassion but is everybody doctrinally OK with this? Sure seems to imply a role for Joseph (biological fatherhood) that is not the traditional teaching of the church. That then challenges a whole host of other doctrinal points.

    Not sure this would score full credit on a seminary or diocesan examination of a prior generation.


    A Holy Lent to ALL,
    -miserable sinner

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  12. I guess I shouldn't be amazed at what goes on over at Viagraville. Still, I cannot help but wonder what right they feel they have to ask anything of the Episcopal Church. It is my impression that the moderator is no longer affiliated in any way with TEC, and it appears that most of the commenters left long ago.
    Is it a purity issue?

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  13. MarkBrunson and Wade,

    You keep bringing up the Buddhism thing as if that's the main angle. It's not.

    Mark has hit upon it in his post- there are legitimate questions to ask. Fr. Harris thinks, however, that somehow he is entitled to avoid answering interview requests BECAUSE of the onslaught, rather than thinking he should agree to interview requests to SETTLE the issues. That is an interesting viewpoint; how are we to get questions answered if interview requests are declined?

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  14. Wade-

    How do you know he is a fine fellow? I am curious what you know about him that draws you to that conclusion.

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  15. Yawner - no intimate knowledge certainly but I thought his explanations of his meditative practices and answers to the questions that have come up were very reasonable and I can't imagine electing a twit to be a bishop, though it has happened. (As a recovering Catholic I can certainly vouch for that!)

    I've also found most Buddhists to be fine fellows, so I'm probably guilty of stereotyping. And I do have to agree with Mark that there are more questions that should be answered.

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  16. Dan's question about the difference between the election of a Bishop and a vote to leave TEC is an important one. There are several differences that are worth noting. The first is that the canonical process for election is, as Jane Ellen, a process that involves the whole church, with Bishops and Standing Committees giving or withholding consent. The process that was followed by those diocesan conventions that voted to secede was unilateral and was, in my view, in violation of the Constitution and Canons to which those dioceses had made "an unqualified accession." Some have argued that there is no specific prohibition of the removal of the accession clause from diocesan constitutions and canons, but I would argue that such removal and any subsequent vote to secede amounts to the surrendering of all of a diocese's rights as an Episcopal diocese - including property rights. While the election in Northern Michigan may have been a mistake, no one has attempted to do an end run around the consent process and I trust that the Bishops and Standing Committees will consider the matter of consent faithfully and prayerfully.

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  17. Jim Workman4/3/09 4:43 PM

    Thank you Mark for granting that there are valid questions to be answered about his liturgies.

    I also think there should be concern about the meaning of “I see now a Jesus who does not raise the bar to salvation, but lowers it so far that it disappears” and “All of creation is always already accepted by God as it is.” This is in his testimony about receiving "lay ordination" in a Buddhist community (“Bridging the Gap: Finding a Place in East and West” The Church in Hiawathaland, July/August 2004 pages C,D). Jesus as Savior is made unnecessary.

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  18. Susan S,

    You're probably right. ALthough Sarah Hey at SFIF is remaining in TEC as are others there, we should definitely let an artist from Berkeley, California determine who is and isn't qualified to judge theology.

    But you're very good, as are others here, in trying to make this about StandFirm instead of a renegade bishop-elect in a diocese that have a lot of people with the ability to argue against him.

    Which is why Charlotte/Fred et al want to ignore Mark's questions, which I must at least give him tremendous credit for printing and asking. Once resolved, they will determine fairly whether Forrester should be approved by the wider church.

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  19. Go back and read Charlotte's post. She gets the Occam's Razor Tribute for cutting this issue to the bone. Stop talking, y'all; if it is not SF or Vitriol Online's place to question the bishop-elect, let's not discuss it as if it is.

    Cheryl

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  20. At this point I would hope that the good bishop-elect come to his senses and leave this sick body that is called a "church" so that he may attempt to heed the call of his soul in a far healthier and saner atmosphere where he will be free to worship and lead others in worship without all the poo flinging and hatred.

    I have been sitting on the sidelines of the Episcopal wars for the last few years, brought into the cyber congregation through Jake's place, a member of TEC for 20+ years trapped in a conservative diocese with no church home that I can stomach. So I keep up my familial connections online and quite faithfully. But I'm reaching a point where I just can't handle the constant cut-throat dramas that seem to erupt every few weeks.

    My own life experiences have taught me to see the truth in what Charlotte is saying and to affirm my own need to get as far away from this battle and the mentally and spiritually damaged people who perpetuate it as fast as I can for my own spiritual health.

    These never-ending purity wars and the vitriol they produce is bad for the soul, the body, the mind, the church, and the world in general.

    Just like Republican-led politics, anything goes for those on the right, nothing is good enough for those on the left and they scream and accuse their opposition even while they practice the very things they decry.

    Soon I doubt any sane person will stand for the priesthood, a bishopric, or any office in the church for except for those who share this spiritual malady for the sane will fear the unleashing of the purity brigade and the onslaught of hateful scrutiny and its effects on their family and friends.

    My heart hurts to see this going on in the church I have loved for so long. Perhaps the glory of Easter will renew something for me at the end of this Lenten desert but for now this episode has sickened me beyond my ability to cope.

    May God have mercy on the bishop-elect, his family, his diocese, his detractors, his supporters, and his church. Only God could see any good in this mess at this point.

    Namaste.

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  21. Here's my take: The ground of the argument about Bishop elect Forrester has shifted, in major part, because now that the self-proclaimed "orthodox" have (mostly) left, the ground of the "Episcopal Right" has shifted. This is about "what's left of the Right" marking the boundary. A theological and ecclesiological 'pissing contest' of sorts, designed both to complain as well as 'mark' territory.

    Where some see irony, others see the reality for what it is: a small, rural diocese in which Mutual Ministry has flourished on a local, parochial level, attempting to try out the model on the broader, diocesean level, for some compelling pragmatic reasons.

    As for composing Eucharistic prayers, well, that is happening all over the church and has happened in the church for centuries. Please! We who regularly engage in liturgical reform, renewal and experimentation know the rubrics. We know what our bishop, the chief liturgical officer, will allow and won't allow at the principle Sunday service. But that doesn't mean that we don't experiment at other times with other liturgical language that attempts to express that which words can not always hold, much less convey.

    I've written some stuff 10 years ago that, at the time, I thought was poetic and fresh and deeply meaningful. I look back at it now and find myself flush with the same embarrassment I felt when I found some of my old love letters in the attic.

    I don't regret for a minute writing those Eucharistic prayers - most of which were done during my first term on the Women's Commission (some of which has been held up in Viagraville for target practice - one of their favorite past times). Those Eucharistic prayers expressed what was in my heart at the time. They led the people of God to hear about God and Jesus and the Holy Spirit in a fresh, new way that was meaningful at that time and in that place and for those people. There is absolutely nothing in the world wrong with that. It is, in fact, doing my job as a priest.

    The legalistic, zealous, uber-conservative "Young Republican"-type Evangelicals in the Episcopal Church are no different from their counterparts in other denominations. The real irony is this: they are our religious terrorists, on their own lawless jihad to bring about their sense of theocracy. They will break any rule, exaggerate any claim, push any boundary, all "in the precious name of Jesus."

    Thankfully, most of them have left TEC, but they are stirring the pot, taunting those on the Right who are left to "not let the Progressives ruin the church."

    GC in Anaheim should prove to be a very interesting "last stand."

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  22. Dan,
    The Episcopal Diocese of Northern Michigan is entitled to keep the property. I do not have a problem with the decision of those diocese to seek shelter elsewhere, but they cannot steal someone else's property. The diocese of FW, Q, SJ and P all elected to go somewhere else. Good, goodbye, don't let the door hit but don't steal the property. No. Michigan has not stolen any property, that I am aware of.
    Thanks Dan, you need to talk with your ex-friends at Stand Firm, they are willing to listen to you bend to truth -- oh wait, not any more.

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  23. Yawner,

    Wow. That is absolutely not what I wrote, and I'm sadly unsuprised at your complete misrepresentation to accomplish your own ends. You guys keep bringing up Buddhism as the main point, and complain we're ignoring the "real" issues when we show it's not about Buddhism. Does that ever really work? Do you actually fool anyone with that? As manipulation techniques go, I find it . . . well . . . a real yawner.

    I asked what the legitimate concerns were - the only legitimate concerns being the canonicity of his election and his ability to be a pastor to his diocese.

    Concerns beyond that = Reasserter noise.

    NCMama,

    We have to be fair.

    I like Forrester, but, as others have pointed out, he is a bishop in the Episcopal Church, not the Diocese of Northern Michigan Church, and already the lesser, more transparent propagandists of the right are clumsily swiping with "Bishop Lawrence." I have only two questions:

    1) What canonical grounds are there for challenging his election?

    2) What concerns are there about his ability - his episcopal model - to minister to the people of Northern Michigan.

    If it were only Reasserters questioning, I would dismiss it.

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  24. "TLC remarked that "Neither the bishop-elect nor three of the diocese’s media contacts granted interviews requested by TLC" Given the hounding going on this week it is no wonder."

    It is worse than boneheaded to think that refusing interviews is going to accomplish anything.

    There are legitimate questions. Mark has set them out. I would expect the bishop-elect would answer them in some appropriate forum.

    He needn't take the calls from The Lying Church. But he does need to be dealing with the issues raised in ecclesiastical media. As he did very effectively in response to George Conger's Buddhist BS.

    Ms K is correct in her assessment of the "reasserter" crowd. They are so convinced that they stand for the Truth (Large T) that they are equally convinced that they can ignore the truth (small t) with impunity. They are, in their own twisted fantasies, Liars for the Lord.

    Oh, and RobRoy. You might try telling the truth yourself for a change. In order to facilitate the consents for bishop-elect Lwrence the first time out, +KJS uncanonically and irregularly extended the deadline for consents once. Hardly the actions of someone trying to sink the process. And while many people argued the one candidate re-election of Lawrence was irregular (which it undeniably was), I do not recall anyone arguing that it was in any way invalid. And lo, the consents followed.

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  25. Malcom, please also point out to RobRoy that the the non-canonicity of the consent forms was not that they were faxed, as opposed to being mailed, but that they failed to have the actual signatures of the individual members of the standing committees in question.

    Signed,
    The Standing Committee of Diocese XXXXX

    does not cut the mustard.

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  26. Mark, you write about "special occasions in which considerable latitude is given forming the Great Thanksgiving." I'm not aware of such "special occasions."

    Even the so-called "Rite III," "An Order for Celebrating the Holy Eucharist" on pp. 400-401 of the Prayer Book, is quite clear: "The Great Thanksgiving is said by the Priest in the name of the gathering, using one of the eucharistic prayers provided."

    The priest is therefore bound by ordination vows to use one of the forms already provided by the Prayer Book or other General Convention authorized liturgies.

    My conclusion: there are no circumstances in which it is permissible to use a Eucharistic Prayer of one's own writing in worship. To do so is to violate one's ordination vows and to usurp the authority of General Convention.

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  27. Bryan Owen...the prayers from Rt I and II are possible, but also Form 1 and 2 on pgs 402-5. You may not have lived with the 28 Prayer Book in your youth, but I did in mine. (Baptized, Married and Ordained using it.) I consider the Prayer Book already allows "considerable latitude" in forming the Great Thanksgiving.

    Your conclusion is wrong. At the most in writing (or better saying without notes) a Eucharistic prayer, we must include the words of institution and the invocation of the Holy Spirit. (not necessarily in one order or the other.) The Sanctus need not be included. You will note that the creeds are not required.

    That seems to be a lot of latitude.

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  28. Hi Mark Harris,
    Please explain for us what causes you to conclude that the creeds are not required. I mean except in the circumstance that they were said at an earlier service the same day. Or is that what you meant by not required?

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  29. Please explain for us what causes you to conclude that the creeds are not required.

    Perpetua, I believe Padre is referring specifically to the Forms 1 and 2 (pgs 402-5) to which he drew Padre Owen's attention. There is no mention of the creeds in these forms.

    Since it appears to me that the Forms are for use in the Order on pg 400, it is noted in the instruction for use that this Order is not for the principle Sunday or weekly service.

    As I understand the history, Padre Forrester and the late Bishop Kelsey had worked together a number of years, in Oregon before Bishop Kelsey was called to No. MI and Padre Forrester followed him. Perhaps only Padre Forrester knows the permissions and latitude he was given in his ministry in this parish by his bishop and friend.

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  30. Perpetua: Nestled in the Eucharistic rubrics is the following instruction for the Nicene Creed: On Sundays and other Major Feasts there follows, all standing (BCP pp. 326 and 358).

    I take this to mean that when one is celebrating the Eucharist on a day other than Sunday or a Major Feast (these are listed in the BCP, p. 15), one may omit the Creed.

    Since use of the "Rite III" Outline form on p. 400 and following is specifically intended for a particular occasion apart from Sunday or regular weekly celebration, it would not be out of line to use an alternative profession of faith (such as is found in the New Zealand Prayer Book), or to skip the profession entirely.

    The omission you note pertains to use of the daily offices, where one is permitted to skip the Creed if one has already said Morning Prayer. This was also a caveat allowed in the 1928 BCP.

    Interestingly enough, the 1928 not only allows a choice between the Apostles' and Nicene Creeds, but permits changing the words of the Apostles' Creed to avoid mention of hell--see p. 15. But I digress.

    Saying the Creed is clearly intended to be a regular habit, but it is true that provision is made for its omission now and again.

    Here endeth the liturgical geek moment. Thanks be to God.

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  31. Dear Davis and Jane Ellen+,

    Thank you for explaining.

    Please now look at the linked service for "Youth Sunday". This is clearly a Eucharist on a Sunday. It omits either Creed (Nicene or Apostles') and substitutes the New Zealand "Affirmation of Faith".

    Do you see a problem with promoting the man who created this Sunday Eucharist service to bishop?

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  32. The curious thing about this entire "debate" is that the reactionaries and schismatics are now arguing, for all intents and purposes, that an affirmation of faith approved by the Anglican Church of Aoteoroa, New Zealand and Polynesia is essentially apostate.

    And why are they arguing this dubious contention?

    Because all they care about is winning, and not a whit about telling the truth.

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  33. Perpetua rants: "Do you see a problem with promoting the man who created this Sunday Eucharist service to bishop?"

    Simple answer to a simple question: NO.

    Back at you now: Why do you have a problem with his promotion?

    Buddhism, dropping the creed, changing Eucharistic prayers, all smoke signals, no? Just come right out and boldly say it: HE'S A LIBERAL! (while clutching pearls)

    Lord save us from such falderal!

    Congrats on your anniversary Mark! God be with you always.

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  34. Honestly Perpetua, no I do not have such a problem.

    What I have a problem with is a new form of Orthodite among us which you seemly represent; the Orthoprax.

    Millions of Christians lived and died, some the martyrs death, without uttering the Nicene or Apostles Creeds during the Sunday Mass, because they did not yet exist. It seems that credal statements were employed during the baptismal process, such as the Roman Baptismal Symbol, a precursor to the Creeds. But the Creeds were not yet the litmus test they are for some today.

    The Nicene Creed is the product of majority rule. Just because the most folks promote it, does not make it correct. Think GAFCON and the urber-Puritans.

    You ignore my last paragraph to pass this judgement.

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  35. Perpetua: Yes-- to be honest, I do have a problem, though it may be different than you think.

    The issue of which creed or affirmation is said on which occasion, and how often, is of less concern to me than a priest deciding s/he is entitled to function as a liturgical Lone Ranger, cobbling this and that from here and there to suit personal preference or to grind a theological axe-- regardless of how "conservative" or "liberal" that axe may be.

    As I said before, this is nothing inherently heretical; many Christian traditions consider independent liturgical crafting to be a normal part of a cleric's job. However, that is not the "doctrine, discipline and worship" to which Episcopal ordinands promise to conform. Nor does it reflect "the faith, unity, and discipline of the Church" that a bishop vows to guard.

    With all due respect... if one prefers to worship or to make theological rules according to one's own lights, without regard for the concerns, traditions, rubrics and canons of the larger church, perhaps one ought to consider a more congregational tradition.

    On the other hand, if one takes ordination vows and accepts the laying on of hands in the Episcopal Church, then it seems reasonable to expect that one is bound to abide by the rubrics of the Prayer Book, as well as the constitution and canons of the Episcopal Church.

    That applies across the spectrum: to Keven Forrester as well as to Mark Lawrence.

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  36. Hi David,

    I see now that you expressed the idea earlier that the Nicene Creed may be in error. Your words remind me of the words of Christopher M.Grabiec in the June 2008 Niagara Anglican (pages 1 and continued on page 6). Do you agree with his article? Are you also thinking that Arius may have been right?

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  37. Well said, Jane Ellen+.

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  38. Hi Malcolm+,

    You wrote regarding the questions of "the reactionaries and schismatics" about Forrester's use of the New Zealand Affirmation of Faith:
    "all they care about is winning, and not a whit about telling the truth."
    Since I have been involved in raising questions, your attribution of motive to me is incorrect.

    Here is proof. I didn't know in what circumstances the New Zealand Affirmation of Faith was used, so I went to Bosco Peters Liturgy website out of New Zealand and tried to find information. When I couldn't locate information, I sent him an email included a link to this post and comments. I asked him if he would do a post on his website on the "Affirmation of Faith" and contribute a comment to this thread. I sent that email on March 5th. I knew from looking at his website that he was a liberal. So obviously, I was trying to learn the truth and not just "trying to win".

    I also sent a similar email to Bryan Owen+ who runs the Creedal Christian blog asking him to provide his insight. So it is very unfair to use ugly language or attribute ugly motives to him for contributing his comment on this blog.

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  39. Perpetua, perhaps you have not heard from Father Peters because his 18 year old daughter has been tragically killed in New Zealand.

    Family mourns after bridge swing death

    May Catherine rest in peace and rise in glory.

    May Dios Todopoderoso strengthen and comfort Padre Bosco and his wife and son in their time of mourning and loss.


    Father Peters is not maintaining his liturgy website currently, although the archives are available. Messages and prayers to the Peters Family may be left at Acts of Hope.

    ReplyDelete
  40. This isn't about orthodoxy. It's about axe-grinding.

    ReplyDelete
  41. David,
    Wow! That is so terrible. What a heartbreaking tragedy.

    ReplyDelete
  42. Hi Malcom+,

    I see you are engaging in more ugly attributions about other people's motivations.

    Since you provide no evidence for the conclusions you draw, I am wondering if your attributions of motive are psychological projections that actually reflect best the motives of the one making the attributions.

    ReplyDelete

OK... Comments, gripes, etc welcomed, but with comment moderation but with some cautions and one rule:
Cautions: Calling people fools, idiots, etc, will be reason to bounce your comment. Keeping in mind that in the struggles it is difficult enough to try to respect opponents, we should at least try.
Rule: PLEASE DO NOT SIGN OFF AS ANONYMOUS: BEGIN OR END THE MESSAGE WITH A NAME - ANY NAME. ANONYMOUS commentary will be cut.