Friar John's Ruminations

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Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Another "no"

Thank you for your letter regarding the election in Northern Michigan of Thew Forrester. I had not heard of this controversial election until I arrived at the HOB Meeting last week in Kanuga. Sufficient concerns about Thew Forrester had been surfacing in the church and the Presiding Bishop took the unusual step of putting this one consent on the agenda. Supporting documents for his election were circulated at the meeting; however many of us were so concerned that it resulted in a protracted conversation. I was one of two Bishops who spoke at length stating reasons why we could not in conscience give consent.

Interestingly enough, my two major concerns had to do with his liturgical practice in which he feels that he has the right to modify the text of the Book of Common Prayer according to his own theological beliefs and assumptions. Secondly, I am deeply concerned by the theological content of some sermons he has posted on the internet. I am grieved to have to take this stance because I know of the suffering that the Diocese of Northern Michigan has endured as the result of Jim Kelsey's tragic automobile accident. I was somewhat embarrassed that during my conversation with the House my voice broke as I admitted that I had awakened very late at night to re-read the materials submitted to see if I could not find such an opening.

My own self-perception is that I am on many matters a social liberal but on doctrinal matters my conservative evangelical Catholicism causes me to pause. It is for that reason and on doctrinal grounds that I am unable to consent to the election in the Diocese of [Northern] Michigan.

Thank you for voicing your concerns, faithfully,

The Rt. Rev. Edwin F. Gulick, Jr., D.D.
Bishop of Kentucky

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