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TEC North Dakota Diocese to get Revisionist Bishop following Retirement of Evangelical Bishop

TEC North Dakota Diocese to get Revisionist Bishop following Retirement of Evangelical Bishop

By David W. Virtue, DD
January 9, 2021

Retired Vermont Episcopal Bishop Thomas Ely will be the new provisional (assisting) Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of North Dakota. He is a revisionist bishop who promotes homosexual marriage. He will lead the diocese on a temporary basis.

Outgoing Bishop Michael Smith strongly opposed homosexual marriage. He presently serves as assistant bishop of Dallas, an orthodox evangelical diocese under the leadership of Bishop George Sumner.

The ND diocese sees 573 Episcopalians attending church on any given week, down from 790 in 2009, a loss of 27.5 percent.

Northern Michigan is a diocese with triple digit attendance figures which showed an ASA of 385 in 2019, down from 624 in 2009. The Diocese of Eau Claire had an ASA of 872 in 2009, dropping to 592 in 2019, a decline of 32 percent.

There are individual parishes in Texas bigger than these three dioceses put together.

None of these dioceses are likely to experience an uptick in homosexual marriages unless homosexual bars are opened post COVID and there is a rush to Episcopal altars. Sources tell VOL that is probably unlikely.

The theological transition in the Diocese of North Dakota should not come as a surprise. The steady attrition of orthodox bishops has been going on for some time.

It is expected that when Bishop William Love of Albany officially steps down Feb.1, he will be replaced by a revisionist bishop who affirms General Convention resolution B012 allowing homosexual marriage. The same is expected to occur when Springfield Bishop Dan Martins leaves. Bishop Martins said he intends to step down June 2021 upon the consecration of his successor. Martins is an Anglo-Catholic and it is most unlikely the diocese or the national church will allow an Anglo-Catholic to replace him.

TLC reports that when the 2015 General Convention voted to permit same-sex marriage rites throughout the Church, Smith was one of eight bishops out of nearly 100 who exercised a veto provision to forbid the use of same-sex marriage rites in their dioceses. The General Convention of 2018 ended that veto power by passing Resolution B012, and most of the dissenting bishops responded by asking another bishop to oversee usage of the rites within their diocese.

Ely, whose neighboring diocese supports B012, publicly shamed the evangelical catholic Bishop Love over his failure to endorse homosexual marriage. In 2018, Ely took two of Love's parishes under his wing, in the name of Delegated Episcopal Pastoral Oversight (DEPO).

"I am grateful for the strong statements from the Presiding Bishop and the President of the House of Deputies in support of the actions of General Convention and the full inclusion of all people in the life, worship and governance of our church. I remain mindful of the theological differences within our church about matters of human sexuality, and I remain committed to full and honest conversation with anyone who wishes to explore these matters in more depth," Ely wrote at that time.

That "honest conversation" resulted in Bishop Love ultimately being tossed out of the Episcopal Church in the name of the TEC's "doctrine" of inclusion for failing to uphold homosexual marriage.

You can read Jeff Walton's take here: https://juicyecumenism.com/2021/01/12/north-dakota-episcopal-thomas-ely/


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