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A year after his controversial consecration and weeks after the release of the Anglican Church’s Windsor Report, Bishop V. Gene Robinson of New Hampshire will speak at Colby College on “The Politics of Polarization and the Search for Community.” The talk will be held on Thursday, November 4, at 7:30 p.m. in Lorimer Chapel on the Waterville campus. The event, sponsored by Colby’s Goldfarb Center for Public Affairs and Civic Engagement, is free and open to the public.
Bishop Robinson has been at the heart of a polarizing debate that has yet to be resolved—the Episcopal Church’s attitude toward gay and lesbian parishioners and clergy. “None of us were truly aware of the difficulty this would cause other parts of the worldwide Anglican Communion,” he told the BBC last week, speaking about his own consecration as the first openly gay Episcopal bishop. He continues to advocate for unity.
Prior to joining The Diocese of New Hampshire, Bishop Robinson worked to enhance the clergy community life in many capacities. In the 1990s he developed the “Being Well in Christ” conference model for The Cornerstone Project and led clergy conferences in more than 20 dioceses in the U.S. and Canada. He initiated Fresh Start, a two-year mentoring program for all clergy in new positions in New Hampshire, and co-wrote the Fresh Start curriculum, now in use in nearly half of the dioceses of the Episcopal Church. Much of his ministry has focused on helping congregations and clergy, especially in times of conflict, using his skills in congregational dynamics, conflict resolution and mediation.
Beyond the church community, Bishop Robinson works to improve lives worldwide. Co-author of three AIDS education curricula for youth and adults, Bishop Robinson has done AIDS work in the United States, Uganda and South Africa. He has been an advocate for anti-racism training in the diocese and wider church. He helped build the Diocese of New Hampshire’s close working partnership with the New Hampshire Community Loan Fund, advocated for debt relief for the world’s most impoverished nations and lobbied for socially-responsible investment within and beyond the church. He currently serves on the board of the New Hampshire Endowment for Health, which works for access to health care for the uninsured.