Here’s to you, Bishop Robinson (again)

Posted 6 November 2010 by

Bishop Robinson at St. Mark's Cathedral in Seattle, Washington

Left to Right: Rev. Deacon Sue Stromp (Deacon of the Word), Rev. Deacon Rebecca Kirkpatrick (Deacon of the Table), The Rt. Rev. V. Eugene Robinson (Preacher and Celebrant), and Rev. Fr. Kevin Smith (Bishop's Chaplain).

The Rt. Rev. V. Eugene Robinson, Bishop of New Hampshire, announced his intention to retire in 2013. From Bishop Robinson’s announcement:

The fact is, the last seven years have taken their toll on me, my family, and YOU. Death threats, and the now-worldwide controversy surrounding your election of me as Bishop, have been a constant strain, not just on me, but on my beloved husband, Mark, who has faithfully stood with me every minute of the last seven years, and in some ways, YOU. While I believe that these attitudes, mostly outside the Diocese, have not distracted me from my service to you, I would be less than honest if I didn’t say that they have certainly added a burden and certain anxiety to my episcopate. While my resignation may not stop such pressures completely, it does seem to be the right time for me to initiate the nearly-two-year process for your election of a new bishop. A three-month overlap will allow for a smooth and appropriate transition. (“Bishop Gene Robinson announces retirement,” The Episcopal Café, retrieved November 6, 2010)

Besides, nine to ten years is a fairly typical legnth of time for a bishop in the Episcopal Church to serve as a bishop diocesan under normal circumstances, whatever “normal” is for a bishop.

If nothing else, Bishop Robinson should be given enough credit to know to move on after a while. Some bishop diocesans never figure that out, and stay on past their freshness date.

There is something I caught something important in his announcement.

“New Hampshire is always the place I remain, simply, ‘the bishop.’ This is the one place on earth where I am not ‘the gay bishop,’” Robinson said.

I am sure any novelty in being the “gay bishop,” if there ever was any, wore off quickly. There were many more important going on in his diocese than to be marginalized that way.

Being a pioneer is always difficult. In Bishop Robinson’s case, being a pioneer also involved serious threats made against his life. He stood up to that while remembering what his first calling is. May he have stregnth to continue in this calling and into the next.

See pictures of Bishop Robinson’s January 2009 visit to Seattle.

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