Saturday, January 5, 2013

BISHOP GENE ROBINSON RETIRES TODAY

Kelvin Holdsworth, Provost of St Mary's Cathedral in Glasgow, writes a moving tribute to Bishop Gene. He says what is in my heart much better than I ever could.  Kelvin invited the Episcopal Bishop of the Diocese of New Hampshire to celebrate at St Mary's during Lambeth 2008, when Gene was locked out of the conference.  Kelvin says:
I’m grateful to him for his ministry here, one of the most electric Sunday mornings since I came here. I’m also grateful to him for keeping the faith, preaching the gospel and standing up to injustice. And yes, I’m proud of having known the first out gay man in a partnership (marriage now…) who became a bishop.  So, here’s to you, Bishop Robinson, Jesus loves you more than you can know. And I’m thankful for what you shared about that love whilst Bishop of New Hampshire.
....

It is abundantly clear today that it is not all about Gene Robinson any more. The compromise that has been announced in England in the last 24 hours only turns the clock back by about 18 months and I’m genuinely surprised by all the excitement in the media about it. Nothing has changed since yesterday. The key facts remain the same:

  •The Church of England behaves badly to gay people in leadership

  •The public discourse of the Church of England at major festivals is dominated by a prurient interest in Jeffrey John’s private life.

  •The media don’t understand it but like the fuss and use any excuse to put nutters on the television
Read Kelvin's lovely post in its entirety.

Bishop Gene's commentary on his exclusion from Lambeth.
The offer to be hosted at the Marketplace is a non-offer. That is already available to me. One workshop on one afternoon and being interviewed by the secular press was not anything I was seeking. I wasn't going to Lambeth to have another interview with the secular press. If interviewed at all, I want to talk with a theologian. I want to talk about the love of Christ. I want to talk about the God who saved me and redeemed me and continues to live in my life. I want to talk about the Jesus I know in my life.

But my mind boggles at the misperception that this is just about gay rights. It might be in another context, but in this context it is about God's love of all of God's children. It's a theological discussion, it's not a media show. I have been most disappointed in that my desire was to participate in Bible study and small groups, and that is not being offered. It makes me wonder: if we can't sit around a table and study the Bible together, what kind of communion do we have and what are we trying to save?

I am dismayed and sickhearted that we can't sit around a table, as brothers and sisters in Christ, and study scripture together.
Of all the voices that needed to be heard at Lambeth, Gene's was one of the most vital, but  Archbishop Rowan Williams chose rather to exclude him.  The church, for so long, persisted in talking about LGTB persons, rather than engaging with them and listening to them.  Change is taking place in churches and in secular society.  Sadly, the Church of England has not yet caught up.

I'm proud to be a member of the church that consecrated the first gay, partnered bishop in the Anglican Communion.  Gene and Mark are now married.  With his unwavering example in proclaiming the Gospel message of God's love and love for one another, by word and by deed, Gene changed many hearts.  Godspeed, Bishop Gene.
May the blessing of light be on you - light without and light within.
May the blessed sunlight shine on you like a great peat fire,
so that stranger and friend may come and warm himself at it.
And may light shine out of the two eyes of you,
like a candle set in the window of a house,
bidding the wanderer come in out of the storm.
And may the blessing of the rain be on you,
may it beat upon your Spirit and wash it fair and clean,
and leave there a shining pool where the blue of Heaven shines,
and sometimes a star.
And may the blessing of the earth be on you,
soft under your feet as you pass along the roads,
soft under you as you lie out on it, tired at the end of day;
and may it rest easy over you when, at last, you lie out under it.
May it rest so lightly over you that your soul may be out from under it quickly; up and off and on its way to God.
And now may the Lord bless you, and bless you kindly. Amen
        

4 comments:

  1. Wonderful post, Mimi.
    My first contact with Bishop Gene came when I was a teenager in my confirmation class just over 30 years ago. He was Rev. Gene then, running a retreat center for the diocese of New Hampshire. What I have loved so much about him in his public role is that he has kept the same enthusiasm and enjoyment in engaging people that I remembered from my youth. He is a genuine, kind, funny, and a real believer. He's been a bright light for me as a lesbian Episcopalian living in a diocese that insists on sitting in darkness. Makes me proud to be a native of New Hampshire.

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    Replies
    1. SCG, thank you. You were fortunate to have Bishop Gene teach you for Confirmation. I've only met him once, just briefly in an introduction.

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  2. "Happy trails to you, until we meet again!"

    God love ya, +Gene. <3

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