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Bishop Gene Robinson, First Anglican Gay Bishop, to Visit Seattle
Bishop Gene Robinson, First Anglican Gay Bishop, to Visit Seattle
The Rt. Rev. Gene Robinson, Episcopal bishop of New Hampshire and the first openly Gay bishop in the Anglican Communion, will visit Seattle January 12 and 13. On January 12 he will lead the Eucharist for the Feast of St. Allred at St. Mark's Cathedral, 1245 10th Ave. E. on Capitol Hill, starting at 4:30 p.m. At 7:30 p.m. at Town Hall, 1119 8th Ave., in downtown Seattle, Bishop Robinson will give a speech on the topic "Civil Rights in the 21st Century: Why Religion Matters." The Town Hall event will be a benefit for the feeding program at Lambert House and for scholarships for low-income counseling at the Center at St. Andrew's. On January 13 at 7:30 p.m., Bishop Robinson will give the Choral Evensong sermon at St. Andrew's Episcopal Church, 111 NE 80th St., in the Green Lake neighborhood.

Bishop Robinson was elected bishop and confirmed at the General Convention of the Episcopal Church in 2003. His election was ratified by a vote of 62 to 45 by the other bishops with voting privileges. After his election, a controversy has raged within the Episcopal Church and the worldwide Anglican Communion. Theologically conservative parishes have aligned themselves with bishops outside the Episcopal Church in the U.S. and three of the 110 dioceses of the church have voted to leave its jurisdiction.

The ordination of Robinson as bishop in 2003 has led to a near schism within the worldwide Anglican Communion. The New York Times reported his ordination, "lit a slow-burning fuse within the Anglican fold that has crept ever closer to the dynamite that could blow the worldwide communion apart." The Anglican Communion comprises 77 million Christians around the world who all have historic ties to the Church of England.

Because of the controversy, the Archbishop of Canterbury did not issue Bishop Robinson an invitation to this past summer's once-a-decade Lambeth Conference, a gathering of all Anglican bishops. In response Robinson said, "At a time when the Anglican Communion is calling for a "listening process" on the issue of homosexuality, how does it make sense to exclude Gay and Lesbian people from the discussion? Isn't it time that the Bishops of the Church stop talking about us and start talking with us?"

Both before and after his ordination, Robinson has been a staunch supporter of the civil rights of Gay and Lesbian people. He is an internationally recognized advocate and passionate speaker. Robinson is co-author of three AIDS education curricula for youth and adults, and has done AIDS work in the United States, Uganda and South Africa. He also has been an advocate for anti-racism training in his own diocese and the wider Anglican Church, advocated for debt relief for the world's most impoverished nations and lobbied for socially responsible investment within and beyond the Anglican Church. Robinson has won numerous awards, including the 2008 Elizabeth Birch Award of the Human Rights Campaign and the 2004 Gay and Lesbian Task Force Leadership Award. He is a sign and an instrument of the creation of a church where all are welcome.

Bishop Robinson will bring his message of inclusion and share his personal story at each of the public events.

A Diocese of Olympia, Integrity Puget Sound and St. Andrew's Episcopal Church press release.

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