Monday, 24 March 2008

Guardian: Gay bishop's mission to unite

It is fitting that Bishop Gene Robinson spent much of his Easter enduring the wintry conditions of the Great North Woods of New Hampshire, performing his ministry to small but loyal congregations. For although he is one of the few bishops who could claim to be a household name across the world's Anglican communion, he has been all but frozen out by the head of his church, the Archbishop of Canterbury.

As the first bishop to speak openly about having a homosexual relationship, he has heard fellow Anglicans describe gays as "lower than beasts".

The Guardian spent the Easter weekend with Robinson as he battled the winds and blizzards on a 400-mile road trip around his US diocese. But the conditions were nothing compared with those he has encountered trying to make it to the Lambeth conference, the 10-yearly gathering of the world's Anglican bishops, which takes place in Canterbury, Kent, from July 16 to August 3.

Two weeks ago Robinson was told he would not be allowed to take part in the event - the only bishop out of 880 to be excluded. He will still go to Canterbury, but with no official status and the same access as a member of the public. Yet he will, inevitably, be one of its star attractions. Robinson will not go into detail, but says he has his own events planned, including one with award-winning actor and gay rights campaigner Sir Ian McKellen, who will perform a reading. Read more
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