Gay bishop takes over diocese
'God is always calling us out of our comfort zones,' Robinson preaches
BY ANNE SAUNDERS The Associated Press: March 8, 2004
CONCORD, N.H. - With three mighty thumps on the church door
yesterday, V. Gene Robinson knocked and was welcomed into St. Paul's
sanctuary, where he officially became the Episcopal Church's first
openly gay bishop.
Yesterday's investiture ceremony does not carry the same weight
as Robinson’s consecration, which rocked the Episcopal Church in
But it gave a capacity crowd of more than 700 the chance to
welcome the new leader of the Diocese of New Hampshire with whoops,
cheers and a standing ovation. Bells rang out from the church tower.
"Journeys of faith, you know, are a risky business," Robinson
said during his sermon. "God is always calling us out of our comfort
Bishop Douglas Theuner, who officially retired yesterday, handed
Robinson the ceremonial staff that transferred the diocese into his
They had shared power since Robinson was made a bishop.
"May the Lord stir up in you the flame of holy charity and the
power of faith that overcomes the world," the Rev. David Jones, rector
of St. Paul's said in the ceremony.
"It's a family time for the diocese. It's a time to give thanks
and a time to welcome Gene to his new role," said the Rev. Hays Junkin,
who opened the door when Robinson knocked.
Robinson is the first openly gay man to be elected as a bishop
in the national Episcopal Church, as well as the worldwide Anglican
Communion of which it is a part.
His consecration drew protesters and triggered angry responses
from many comers of the world.
Several Anglican bishops abroad have said they will no longer
associate with the Episcopal Church USA because it approved Robinson's
In the United States, a dozen conservative bishops are
organizing an alternative network of dioceses and parishes that object
to Robinson's homosexuality.
They argue that homosexuality violates biblical laws.
Robinson has lived with his partner, Mark Andrew, a state
administrator, for 15 years and has two daughters from a marriage.
"Let’s be clear," Robinson told parishioners in Manchester in
“We've always had gay bishops. All I'm doing is being honest about it.”
Most of the state's Episcopalians support Robinson, but a
conservative minority continues to oppose his consecration.
Two churches, Church of the Redeemer in Rochester and St. Mark's
in Ashland, have voted to affiliate with the new network of
Robinson said he hopes to work with the two churches, even
though their members have said they do not want Robinson to serve as
“Here in the diocese, we are continuing to reach out in every
way possible to individuals for whom this is still a troubling thing,”