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Robinson will retire in 2013, he tells diocese

11 November 2010

by a staff reporter

THE Rt Revd Gene Robinson (right) is to retire early because of the toll that the past seven years have taken on him, his family, and his followers. He was consecrated in 2003 as Bishop of New Hampshire, in the United States (News, 7 November 2003). He will retire at 65, in 2013.

The Bishop told his diocesan convention last week: “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. 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’.”

He said that he was “in his fifth year of sobriety”, having sought treatment for alcoholism in 2006.

The New York Times has reported that, during his episcopate, church membership in the diocese fell three per cent, from 15,259 in 2003 to 14,787 in 2009, compared with ten per cent in the national Church.

The Archbishop of Sydney, Dr Peter Jensen, general secretary of GAFCON/FCA, commented: “The agonising dispute in the Anglican Communion is not about Bishop Robinson personally. It is true that his consecration as a Bishop seven years ago was one of the flashpoints for a serious realignment of the whole Communion. But many things have happened since then.”

The director of Changing Attitude, the Revd Colin Coward, said: “Bishop Gene’s election in 2003 did indeed transform the landscape. . . At last we had somebody as a bishop who was fully visible, and embodied the quality of life so many of us long for, a committed, faithful and loving relationship as a Christian. He has borne the cost as an iconic figure on behalf of LGBT Anglicans.”

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