Rejected Episcopalian “Buddhist Bishop” Moving On

Juicy Ecumenism | 4/25/2019 | Jeffrey Walton
Emzah92 (Posted by) Level 3
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A priest once elected, and subsequently denied office, as bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Northern Michigan is moving on from at least one church he leads, leaving behind a precipitously declining congregation with only a handful of attendees.

The Rev. Kevin G. Thew Forrester’s 2009 election triggered opposition from across the church after it was revealed that he had received a Zen Buddhist ordination. Forrester had unilaterally edited the baptismal rite in church services he presided over in an effort to bypass doctrines he disagreed with, including original sin and the existence of Satan. The clergyman from Marquette, the largest city in Michigan’s geographically vast Upper Peninsula, also inserted a verse from the Koran into a church service as the Word of God.

Forrester - Election - Northern - Michigan - Consent

However, Forrester was never consecrated. That’s because his election to oversee the Northern Michigan diocese did not receive consent from a sufficient number of diocesan bishops and standing committees, as required by Episcopal Church canon law. It was the first time a bishop-elect had been denied consent since the 1930s, and the first time since the 1870s that one had been rejected for theological reasons.

He remained in his position as “ministry developer,” overseeing three congregations: St. Paul’s, Marquette; St. John’s, Negaunee; and Trinity, Houghton.

Month - Trinity - Parish - Ministry - Portfolio

Last month Trinity, a parish founded in 1860, published a ministry portfolio to call, as they call the incumbency, a “priest in partnership.”

At the same time, publicly available numbers reveal a significantly diminished congregation.

Forrester - Work - Ministry - Developer - Trinity

In 2007, when Forrester began his work as ministry developer, Trinity had an average Sunday attendance of...
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