On Oct. 5, Gene Robinson, the first openly gay priest ordained in a major Christian denomination, will speak at the University of Michigan’s Dearborn campus. Following the speech and discussion, the bishop will attend an evening reception that will raise money for LGBT youth shelter Ruth Ellis Center.
Robinson is the ninth Bishop of the Diocese of New Hampshire in the Episcopal Church of the U.S, which is one of the most progressive major Christian denominations in the country. The church has backed legislation to protect LGBTs and allows gays and lesbians to be ordained ministry.
Bishop Robinson entered office in March 2004. That November, Bishop Robinson was consecrated as the Bishop of New Hampshire – and as the first openly gay bishop in LGBT history. He wore a bulletproof vest under his clothing at the ceremony.
Since then, Robinson’s career has hit many highs and lows. He was the only bishop in the Anglican Communion not to be invited to the the 15th decennial Lambeth Conference in November 2008. One month later, Robinson was asked to lead the opening prayer at President Obama’s Inaugural Celebration.
In 2010 at the annual convention of the Episcopal Diocese of New Hampshire in Concord, Bishop Robinson announced that he would step down in January of 2013. He will be 65.
Bishop Robinson said his early retirement is due to death threats, harassment and controversy. “(These struggles) have been a constant strain,” Robinson said, “not just on me, but on my beloved husband, Mark, who has faithfully stood with me every minute of the last seven years.”
Robinson will speak to UMD students and invited students of other Michigan universities in mid-afternoon (an exact time has yet to be determined). Following the event, the public is invited to attend a reception and refreshments with Robinson. A suggested donation of $10 to aid the Ruth Ellis Center will be requested at the door.
For updated information, check the Pride Source Online Calendar, go to http://www.umdgsa.weebly.com or call the president of the UMD GSA at 734-776-8104.