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Bishop Nominee in Episcopal Church Holds Buddhist Ordination
"While church leaders may respect other faiths, their vow of Christian ordination has always meant an exclusive commitment to Jesus Christ and the Christian faith." - James Tonkowich, IRD President
 
 
WASHINGTON, Feb. 5 /Christian Newswire/ -- An Episcopal priest who has received a Buddhist lay ordination has been nominated for the position of bishop in the Diocese of Northern Michigan. The Rev. Kevin Thew Forrester, who has served in the diocese since 2001, will be the only nominee for the vacant position.
 
Forrester currently serves as rector of St. Paul's, Marquette, and is the diocese's ministry development coordinator. The bishop's election is scheduled for a special convention to be held February 21 in Escanaba, MI. If elected, Forrester would still have to obtain consents from a majority of dioceses in the Episcopal Church, in what is usually viewed as a rubber-stamp procedure.

Forrester is not the first Episcopal clergyman to hold dual faiths. In 2004, Pennsylvania priest Bill Melnyk was revealed to be a druid; while in 2007 Seattle priest Ann Holmes Redding declared that she was simultaneously an Episcopalian and a Muslim. Both Melnyk and Redding were eventually inhibited from priestly duties. Forrester's background was recently brought to light by the Anglican web site Stand Firm in Faith.

IRD President James Tonkowich commented,

"So called 'dual-faith' clergy are hardly new to the Episcopal Church, which has in the recent past had to deal with clergy that claimed Muslim and druidic faiths, in addition to Anglicanism.

"To my knowledge, this is the first time that such a 'dual-faith' practitioner has been nominated to be a bishop.

"Forrester has been identified by his former bishop as 'walking the path of Christianity and Zen Buddhism together.' While church leaders may respect other faiths, their vow of Christian ordination has always meant an exclusive commitment to Jesus Christ and the Christian faith."

The Institute on Religion and Democracy, founded in 1981, is an ecumenical alliance of U.S. Christians working to reform their churches’ social witness, in accord with biblical and historic Christian teachings, thereby contributing to the renewal of democratic society at home and abroad.

www.TheIRD.org