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TLC: Buddhist Bishop-Elect Composes Own Eucharistic Texts

Wednesday, March 4, 2009 • 7:18 am

Doug LeBlanc describes how Forrester is pretty much making it up as he goes:

Fr. Thew Forrester’s parish draws some of its prayers from Enriching Our Worship, which is authorized by General Convention. Many of the eucharistic texts gathered from the congregation’s website were composed or adapted by the bishop-elect or by his wife, the Rev. Rise Thew Forrester.

“No one need go hungry if they eat this bread. No child, no adult, no elder. This bread, broken, is bread for all people,” read a eucharistic prayer for a youth service during Lent 2008. “Jesus broke this bread to remind us that God comes to us in those places where we are broken inside. Where we are lonely, frightened, sick and in sorrow. And God also comes to us in those places where we are joyful, playful and free.”

The same service omitted the Nicene Creed, instead using “An Affirmation of Faith” from A New Zealand Prayer Book.

A eucharistic prayer that the bishop-elect wrote for Easter season 2008 says this: “In the ancient days, at the dawn of time, You leaned over creation[,] scooped it to your breast and breathed the moist breath of life. ... 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.”

The lectionary texts are notable for their exclusion of male pronouns, even when the subject of the sentence is a man. A reading from Genesis 2 refers to Adam as “the earth creature” and “it.” Readings from the gospels of John and Mark refer to Jesus as “the Chosen One,” “the Only Begotten One,” “my Beloved, my Own” and “this One.”

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How these people can be so far over the line into self-parody and not realize it is frankly beyond me.

[1] Posted by Greg Griffith on 03-04-2009 at 08:22 AM • top

I love this line by Canon McMichael:

“Bishops are to guard the faith. They are stewards, chief stewards,” he said. “They need to struggle with the church. You don’t wander around doing your own thing.”

Too late.

[2] Posted by Sarah on 03-04-2009 at 08:30 AM • top

So much for the Episcopal Tradition they say is so important to them.

[3] Posted by Another Pilgrim on 03-04-2009 at 08:34 AM • top

The Episcopal Creed: “Mean people suck.  Jesus was nice.  We like Jesus.  He/She/It wasn’t mean.  He/She/It was kool. Amen.”

[4] Posted by Looking for Leaders on 03-04-2009 at 08:36 AM • top

I had a conversation with a priest in Fort Worth who stayed in TEC and all this information coming out about Forrester was complete news to him. Just shows that information will not easly flow down to those who work in the fields.

[5] Posted by bob+ on 03-04-2009 at 08:39 AM • top

“Just shows that information will not easly flow down to those who work in the fields.”

And I am not sure, with all the Buddhapalian kerfuffle, that people are aware that Thew Forrester struck the Nicene creed from the liturgy so that a Muslim attendee (husband of one of his parishioners) wouldn’t feel “excluded” and presumably so that he could participate in the open communion. I think this is most outrageous of all.

[6] Posted by robroy on 03-04-2009 at 08:56 AM • top

Run, run from the flow of TECces breaking forward from a rotting corpse.
Acts 1: 17-18 - For he was numbered with us, and had obtained part of this ministry. Now this man purchased a field with the reward of iniquity; and falling headlong, he burst asunder in the midst, and all his bowels gushed out.

[7] Posted by Festivus on 03-04-2009 at 09:18 AM • top

Mark Harris, while raking SF over the coals as “the dogs of war” (wonderful music comes into my mind!), concludes with a call for these charges need to be answered.

[8] Posted by Bull Street on 03-04-2009 at 09:19 AM • top

Well, so much for creation ex nihilo and the virgin birth…

[9] Posted by Fr. Greg on 03-04-2009 at 09:26 AM • top

One of the priests in TEC Fort Worth also said that every TEC church uses the BCP and proceeded to use the BCP as a prop in a sermon to make his point of unity. Fr. Forrester is not the only one. There is a company in California, All Ssints’ Company, that is making up their own thing as well. They are doing so well, that the two TEC priests that started it are expanding the program outside of California.  Here is their website:

[10] Posted by martin5 on 03-04-2009 at 09:27 AM • top

I was just glad to read what God didn’t do when he “leaned over the earth,” were I Him I know what I would have done after reading this tripe….

[11] Posted by FrVan on 03-04-2009 at 09:29 AM • top

About “A Liturgical Affirmation” from New Zealand. The Nicene Creed (and any creedal affirmation) is optional in their Prayer Book. Following is the text of the alternate Affirmation that K. Thew Forrester uses sometimes:

You, O God, are supreme and holy, You create our world and give us life. Your purpose overarches everything we do.  You have always been with us. You are God.
You, O God, are infinitely generous, good beyond all measure.  You came to us before we came to you.  You have revealed and proved your love for us in Jesus Christ, who lived and died and rose again.  You are with us now.  You are God.
You, O God, are Holy Spirit.  You empower us to be your gospel in the world.  You reconcile and heal; you overcome death. You are our God.  We worship you.

This is mighty soft as a sub for the Nicene Creed on a Sunday (required by the rubrics on Sundays).

I knew a priest who was brought before the bishop for changing one word in the baptismal liturgy to soften baptismal regeneration. We’ve come a long way, baby!

[12] Posted by Gator on 03-04-2009 at 09:36 AM • top

Bull Street,

That’s “Dogs of Ecclesiastical War” not just “Dogs of War”. We want to be sure to get the business cards right.

[13] Posted by Matt Kennedy on 03-04-2009 at 09:37 AM • top

I got these snippets from an article posted over at T19.  These people, frankly, are hilarious to me.  I especially like the blue plastic blinking rings.  How does the Ep. church get these people?  I mean, it’s just a joke.  We really are the caricatures that people make fun of.

‘Mother’ uses eclectic past for church’s innovation
STAMFORD—With closed eyes, 12 men and women sat in a circle of mismatched high-backed couches and chairs, listening as the soft musical voice of Mother Julia Anne Fritts led them in meditation.

She pushed her long, straight, silver hair off her shoulders as she looked around the quiet circle.

For Fritts, raised a Methodist in Maryland, the path to the pulpit was not straight nor simple. She was a “dreamy overachiever” who never knew where she fit in, Fritts said.

She worked as a senior physical therapist at three Baltimore hospitals; recorded and toured nationally as a rock drummer; taught Tai Chi in the Baltimore city prison system; and built an acupuncture practice with more than 350 patients.

Fritts planned the Jan. 24 service down to the blue plastic blinking rings parishioners displayed to symbolize joy during the recessional hymn. The service included drums, sung prayers and a blessing by the whole congregation, she said.

The service, like the woman who created it, was unique, parish President Alison Chaltas said. Fritts even took the title Mother, usually used for the head of a convent, Chaltas said.

[14] Posted by Looking for Leaders on 03-04-2009 at 09:39 AM • top

So basically… we got Jesus because Mary and Joseph had hot sex.  What a lovely Eucharistic prayer.

[15] Posted by Nasty, Brutish & Short on 03-04-2009 at 09:49 AM • top

Let’s see…. pyschologizing Gnostic Arian Pelagian, no Real Presence… just as I thought. He’s also a Zen Buddhist because Mr F’s faith as it’s expressed in “his” liturgies is insufficient to adequately feed even their author.

[16] Posted by A Senior Priest on 03-04-2009 at 09:52 AM • top

Ancient traditions since the 4th century no doubt. No division of the faith here. I hope AngloDio San Joaquin attorneys are taking good notes.

[17] Posted by Intercessor on 03-04-2009 at 09:54 AM • top

Ok, now I feel guilty for making fun of this person.  I’m sure she’s trying to do the best she can.

[18] Posted by Looking for Leaders on 03-04-2009 at 09:54 AM • top

Why bother?  If the weather were better in Northern Michigan, this new “bishop’s” communicants would be “worshiping” at Sunday margarita brunches, as is the custom here in San Diego.

[19] Posted by Judith L on 03-04-2009 at 10:22 AM • top

Perpetua of Carthage blogsite looks the “New Zealand affirmation of faith” versus the Nicene creed. Thew Forrester claims a trinitarian faith. His liturgical bait and switch makes one wonder about his belief in the divinity of Jesus.

[20] Posted by robroy on 03-04-2009 at 10:37 AM • top

I LOVED this - it made me smile so much. What fantastic bad taste. He’s got no chance of being hauled off by the Canon cops but, my goodness, if the poetry police ever catch up with him he’ll be sent down for a very, very long time.

[21] Posted by driver8 on 03-04-2009 at 10:55 AM • top

BobC+ I suspect that the remainder priest you talked to in Fort Worth was also “unaware” that Gene Robinson was getting married. We call that willful ignorance. Once again, Thew Forrester graduated from radical, godless CDSP-“Bezerkly”, Calif. He was in   the Diocese of Oregon- the same diocese that produced KJS, the first state to legalize euthanasia. No one should be surprised.

[22] Posted by hellcat on 03-04-2009 at 11:05 AM • top

Hellcat, I was at the Diocese of California’s School for Deacons at CDSP in the mid-70s, and I could see where their so-called “theology” was leading me and my fellow students.  I left and never once looked back….never been sorry, either!

[23] Posted by Cennydd on 03-04-2009 at 11:11 AM • top

It would be interesting to know where the rest of ‘em ended up, though.

[24] Posted by Cennydd on 03-04-2009 at 11:13 AM • top

Here I sit, at my desk, listening to Pink Floyd and there is a reference by Bull Street to “Dogs of War.” Not a bad day thus far, Episcopal outrages (and inanities) notwithstanding.

Blessings and regards,
Keith Toepfer

[25] Posted by Militaris Artifex on 03-04-2009 at 11:15 AM • top

Cennydd, My husband had to attend that TEC “re-education camp” for a year in the late 1970’s. TEC wanted to be sure that he wasn’t “too Christian”.  On his first day, some freak in a polka dot suit was lying prostrate on the ground. No one seemed to be concerned. He found out later the man was a professor. The school was well stocked with atheistic faculty. My husband got out of there as fast as he could. He had an excellent background, so he emerged unscathed.

[26] Posted by hellcat on 03-04-2009 at 11:26 AM • top

My pending post at Canon Harris’ blog -

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

[27] Posted by miserable sinner on 03-04-2009 at 11:30 AM • top

“Bishops are to guard the faith. They are stewards, chief stewards,” he said. “They need to struggle with the church. You don’t wander around doing your own thing.”

I don’t envy Cn. McMichael, he works for Bp. Wayne Smith.  I wonder how many times he has to tell this to his boss.  Smith is very quite about his revisionism, but he is definately in the leftist camp.

[28] Posted by Nikolaus on 03-04-2009 at 11:30 AM • top

Re: #10, I checked out the All Saints Company and found this:

In 1978 they founded St. Gregory of Nyssa parish as a special mission of the Diocese of California.  The young congregation pioneered the Open Table in the Episcopal church, inviting everyone to communion whether baptized or not, following Jesus’ teaching and example.  St. Gregory’s also began to explore the lay diaconate, congregational dance, unaccompanied singing as ways to involve the congregation in worship.

I have mixed feelings.  I think it can be a good thing to find ways to breathe life and relevance into the liturgy… within limits.  Substituting the NZ Affirmation for the Nicene Creed for a particular youth group event doesn’t seem scandalous to me, as it would if it were a regular practice at Sunday Eucharists.  And one of the eucharistic texts cited seems pretty scriptural to me; although I agree that the latter is off the deep end.  (So while I applaud some experimentation, I acknowldge the attendant risks demonstrated here… which is why bishops need to approve these things… and this case shows the futility of expecting aberrant bishops to exercise oevrsight over aberrant texts!)

Likewise, I applaud some of what the All Saints Co is doing, such as building community through a revival of sacred folk singing (“folk” is an ethos, not a style!  grin )

But why on earth are they allowed to not merely tolerate, but champion “open communion” without being disciplined???  Rhetorical question; I know man was made for the canons, not the canons for man.

[29] Posted by Connecticutian on 03-04-2009 at 11:35 AM • top

I agree about the poetry police.  Alot of that stuff sounds like something a 19 year old would write to impress his sophmore Lit teacher, after hitting the bong a couple of times.

[30] Posted by Looking for Leaders on 03-04-2009 at 11:36 AM • top

<blockquote>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.”<blockquote>

Uh…what?  I have read this text a few times but this just jumped out.  So Mary conceived Jesus by Joe, not the Holy Spirit!

[31] Posted by Nikolaus on 03-04-2009 at 11:37 AM • top

I have often thought that the one thing that will ultimately put an end to this write-your-own-liturgy bilge is the turgid awfulness of the products that have emerged from the process.

[32] Posted by oscewicee on 03-04-2009 at 11:45 AM • top

That liturgy sounds like something out of a Harlequin novel. It is only a matter of time before TEC changes Mary and Joseph into a lesbian couple. They will “discover” that Joseph was really a woman, and Mary was artificially inseminated. Think it won’t happen? What about KJS’s Christmas card that showed women in place of the wise men? Prominent TEC leaders have stated that Ruth and Naomi were lesbians, and Jesus was gay.

[33] Posted by hellcat on 03-04-2009 at 11:47 AM • top

Grasshopper….When you can snatch the pebble from my hand, it will be time for you to leave.

[34] Posted by Scott Boykin on 03-04-2009 at 12:21 PM • top

I think that early on in church history, local bishops were allowed to write their own liturgies. Because of the resulting weirdness, the church wisely took that authority away from them.

The BCP79 does make provision for locally-composed Eucharistic prayers (the so-called Rite III) except for the main Sunday service. This is a good exercise for seminarians and others interested in liturgy. What looks good on paper might well come across as goofy when actually used in a service. One gains appreciation for the prayers that are actually in the prayer books (though I still smile at the Star Wars prayer in the BCP79).

Many who are more conservative that I will disagree, but I think it’s also a potentially good thing in certain types of chapel services, where a carefully-composed prayer might have special meaning for a particular group.

To me, the foolishness of these particular prayers is further evidence that TEC ought not to approve him for the episcopate, and should additionally consider whether he should continue on in active ministry as a priest.

It would be interesting to hear what the liturgy profs, even in the more liberal seminaries, would say about them.

[35] Posted by Ralph on 03-04-2009 at 12:37 PM • top

From where I’m sitt’in, these folk seem like some of those darn hippies to me…smoked grass one time too many.  wink

[36] Posted by B. Hunter on 03-04-2009 at 01:54 PM • top

#29 Check out their liturgy for baptism:

or the Table Eucharist (Feast of Friends)

[37] Posted by martin5 on 03-04-2009 at 02:10 PM • top

They will “discover” that Joseph was really a woman, and Mary was artificially inseminated.

Oh, that’s just great…....First we had Adam and Steve, now we get Mary and Josephine. What’s next?

the snarkster™

[38] Posted by the snarkster on 03-04-2009 at 02:38 PM • top

This whole Bhudda thing is just so…...ridiculous.  Monty Python has become real life.  Oh well, I guess it had to happen.

[39] Posted by Looking for Leaders on 03-04-2009 at 02:50 PM • top

Insert homemade Eucharistic rite somewhere in the following:    [url=] [/url]

[40] Posted by Scott Boykin on 03-04-2009 at 03:17 PM • top

Scott, man, Kung Fu was awesome.  He could be all mystical, and still open up a can of whoopa@# on you.

[41] Posted by Looking for Leaders on 03-04-2009 at 03:33 PM • top

martin5, I LOVE the “baptism rites”.  You can almost picture a conga line forming.

[42] Posted by hellcat on 03-04-2009 at 03:42 PM • top

You guys are killing me here ...LOL!!

[43] Posted by Intercessor on 03-04-2009 at 03:45 PM • top

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.”

(#27)  Yes, that is exactly what it is suggesting:  that Joseph is the biological father of Jesus.  At least Forrester isn’t subscribing to the view that Mary had an illicit affair with a Teutonic Roman soldier who was stationed in Galilee—a theory that was in vogue among liberals 50 years ago (in part to explain how Jesus has Caucasian features in so many artistic and iconographic depictions). 

But conceive of this, if you can—Forrester sitting down to craft a so-called Eucharistic Prayer that explicitly denies the Virgin Birth!  Even a graduate of a liberal seminary had to have known how controversial this was—and he still felt it was appropriate to offer this up as the worship of the Church.  Unbelievable!!!

Now I am waiting to see which troll will jump in and tell us how “orthodox” Forrester really is.

[44] Posted by ToAllTheWorld on 03-04-2009 at 04:07 PM • top

So are we talking David Carradine in a gory stole? “Ah, Grasshopper…” Or is it more Crouching Bishop, Hidden Canons?

[45] Posted by driver8 on 03-04-2009 at 04:14 PM • top

#37, do they ever do the sacred hokey pokey?

Following the Lord of the Dance.

[46] Posted by Matthew A (formerly mousestalker) on 03-04-2009 at 04:14 PM • top

#44, I’d guess that Fr. Klukas would lose blood flow to his head if he saw this stuff, so it might not be a good idea to show them to him. That would be your call…

I think it might be useful to circulate these among the liturgy and systematic theology profs at the various seminaries. While I’d be interested to study and learn from the diverse comments that they might make, it might be more productive if some of them were to write letters to the bishops and standing committees.

This is far out stuff, even for TEC at its worst, and I’d speculate that the academics in the more liberal seminaries would find it bothersome.

[47] Posted by Ralph on 03-04-2009 at 04:29 PM • top

mouse, I think it’s more like the funky chicken, with some Tai-chi thrown in.

All of a sudden, I’m hungry for Chinese.

Another question;  Was the Shoney’s Big Boy kind of an American Buddha, and if so, should we have worshipped him more than we did?  Or, if not worshipped him, should we at least have not tried to steal him from his stand as frat boys in college?

[48] Posted by Looking for Leaders on 03-04-2009 at 04:30 PM • top

Nicean creed should be replaced:

We believe in your wallet…the almighty dollar…maker of pensions and buildings and all endowments cashed and uncashed .

We believe in one Lord Katherine Schori the only bishop of authority.

She was created by Jon Bruno and born from the General Convention of one being with the Griswold. Lawsuit from lawsuit,deposition from deposition, true MDG’s from true MDG’s of one being with the canons.

Through her all sins where dismissed. For the Christians and for their punishment she came to court with Booth Beers.
By the power of injunction she became one with their liquid assets and was made plaintiff. For our sake she created illegitimate dioceses; the existing standing committees suffered death and were made irrelevant. On the third day she filed lawsuits and the legal bills rose again in accordance with the canons. She ascended into Lambeth and is seated at the right hand of Primus inter pares.
She will sue again in glory and the litigation will have no end. We believe in the General Convention,the deputy committees,the passers of budgets and canons whom proceed from the diocesan conventions. With Schori and the General Convention MDG’S are worshipped and glorified. She has spoken through the lawyers.
We believe in one Presiding Bishop and General Convention Church. We acknowledge Integrity for the ignoring of sins. We look for the resurrection of gay bishops and the life of the world to come.

[49] Posted by Intercessor on 03-04-2009 at 04:39 PM • top

We believe in the General Convention,the deputy committees,the passers of budgets and canons whom proceed from the diocesan conventions.

Intercessor, that is blatant heresy. Where did you learn that?  Do you not know that the diocesan conventions proceed FROM the General Convention (1st Katharine 6:7-122, or Beers 1:1887-19:133, paragraph 19.), and not the other way around?  What do they teach in these seminaries now-a-days?
As penance, please check on the enclosed card whether you would prefer a one time Indulgence, or the e-card loaded with 10 Indulgences, and enclose the appropriate payment made out to the “St. Ives Fund.”

[50] Posted by tjmcmahon on 03-04-2009 at 04:50 PM • top

KEYBOARD ALERT!!! Protect your keyboard from liquid spills!

Thanks, Intercessor and tjmcmahon. Another fine liturgical reform movement in the spirit of the Officium Lusorum has been launched! Ite, missa est.


[51] Posted by Ralph on 03-04-2009 at 05:01 PM • top

of one being with the Griswold

I am in awe of the mind capable of conceiving this.

[52] Posted by Chazaq on 03-04-2009 at 05:15 PM • top

I find it downright scary. .wink

[53] Posted by oscewicee on 03-04-2009 at 05:20 PM • top

[32] oscewicee,

In characterizing KTF’s (and others’) “write-your-own-liturg(ies)” as “bilge” and describing them as “turgid,” don’t you think that you are being just the least little bit over generous in your assessment? wink

What I mean is that I <strike>have known</strike> <strike>met</strike> <strike>heard of</strike> <strike>suspect there are</strike> people who are actually comforted by those sentiments {aside: May God have mercy on their poor benighted souls}.

Blessings and regards,
Keith Toepfer

[54] Posted by Militaris Artifex on 03-04-2009 at 05:38 PM • top

You speak the Truth. Well done.

[55] Posted by martin5 on 03-04-2009 at 05:39 PM • top

Hellcat, you should check out the Lord’s Prayer video. They are teaching it like a Muslim prayer. It is how they used pray in the ancient days, apparently. It would be too difficult to do in our churches - the pews would get in the way.

[56] Posted by martin5 on 03-04-2009 at 05:42 PM • top

Intercessor, a brave effort, good sir.  However, I must inquire in context of the text itself whether or not the “life of the world to come” is, in fact, a reference to a life after life experience or -more probably given the fixation on sex of the ECUDA/TEC/GCC/EO-PAC- whether this might be a culturally-bound sentiment actually referring to orgasm in this only known and worshipped physicality considered “life”.  We used to have it on Dominical authority that in heaven there was no giving in marriage and, to the 60’s free-sex mindset so codified in the ECUSA/TEC adiaphoratic situational ethic now evidenced, I think this codification should probably be as culturally enmeshed as the alleged “sanctity” of same-sex sex, given that it is really all about the orgasm however achieved or whomever achieved with, including autonomous sex.

What think ye?

[57] Posted by dwstroudmd+ on 03-04-2009 at 06:49 PM • top

#57- I am afraid that you have me confused with the Great and Omnipotent Seer of Sante Fe to whom I must defer to his Orthodox viewpoint. But gee thanks for asking!

[58] Posted by Intercessor on 03-04-2009 at 07:13 PM • top

The training of a Bishop:

[url=] [/url]

I had forgotten how cool this show was.  I loved it when I was a kid.

[59] Posted by Scott Boykin on 03-04-2009 at 09:51 PM • top

No self-respecting GenXYer could look at this c**p and not giggle(unless they were raised on tofu and kool-aid at Berkeley by their angry professor mom).  It’s so horribly cheesy.  Zenpiscopal puppet-wielding, clown nose-wearing, crystal-seeking, conversation-having, sage-smudging, indaba-organizing, ubuntu-planning, father-hating, protest-marching Baby Boomers ASSume we like and want this as our future.  PUH-LEEEZZZZZZ!!!!!!!

[60] Posted by TXThurifer on 03-04-2009 at 10:31 PM • top

I can’t even stand the Galactic Prayer in Rite II…I giggle, then roll my eyes that someone thought it was a fabulous idea…

[61] Posted by TXThurifer on 03-04-2009 at 10:35 PM • top

Grasshopper…..who needs Cranmer when you can write your own rite?

[62] Posted by Scott Boykin on 03-05-2009 at 12:55 AM • top

I went to the All Saints’ Company website.  Did anyone mouse over the slideshow on the main page?  Shown are such “saints” as Origen (thought that souls went through many incarnations before meeting God, a theory that was declared anathema in the 6th century) St. Moses the Black (a nod to political correctness, there) Sojourner (Truth?) and Malcolm X (Malcolm X ???) Also Miriam and Elizabeth I. Quite the pantheon.

[63] Posted by The Little Myrmidon on 03-05-2009 at 10:42 AM • top

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