The Rev. Kevin Thew Forrester cannot receive enough votes from standing committees in the Episcopal Church to be consecrated as bishop of Northern Michigan according to a tally kept by an Arkansas reporter who has been in contact with all of the Church’s 110 dioceses as well as the Convocation in Europe.
The Diocese of Bethlehem’s standing committee voted not to consent to Thew Forrester’s election tonight, becoming the 56th diocese to withhold consent according to the reporting of Frank Lockwood of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, who also reports online at Bible Belt Blogger. If his count is correct, Thew Forrester can only be confirmed if some standing committee’s change their votes.
Fifty-six standing committees have withheld consent. Twenty-nine have given consent. Twenty-six have either not voted or not reported on their vote, according to Lockwood.
The Church does not announce the outcome of confirmation balloting until after the 120-day period in which consents may be received. Thew Forrester’s consent period ends in late July.
A number of Web sites have kept track of consents to Thew Forrester’s election, but Lockwood is the only one to personally contact every diocese and confirm the votes on which he reported. Lockwood did not receive as many responses from bishops as from standing committees, but a bishop-elect must receive a majority of votes from both bishops with jurisdiction and standing committees to be confirmed.
While Bishop Mark Lawrence of South Carolina was denied consents after his first election to that position, he was ultimately confirmed after being reelected. No bishop-elect has ultimately gone unseated since the 1930s.
The Café’s coverage of the controversy surrounding Thew Forrester’s election began here. The diocese defended its choice and its process, however a key bishop, who was not swayed by the arguments of conservative bloggers, nonetheless voted against Thew Forrester. The bishop-elect stated his own case, but failed to sway enough voters, in the first episcopal election whose outcome was influenced heavily by the internet.