Bishop Robinson speaks

HWMBO and I just returned from St. Martin in the Fields church in central London, where Changing Attitude had its 10th Anniversary service capped by an address by Bishop Gene Robinson of New Hampshire.

Everything was fantastic. Gene is an absolutely fabulous preacher (although this sermon was after the service and it was an “address”, not a sermon) and spoke for more than an hour with minimal notes. However, I hope someone publishes the text, because he was superb. His basic massage was “I (ie, Gene Robinson) am not the message; Jesus is the message.” and he elaborated on that theme for the entire time.

We saw our former rector. Angus, who was sprightly and warm as ever; we saw many friends and had a nice time at the reception. Some photojournalist from the Telegraph took a photo of my Rainbow lapel badge because my lapel was pinstripe and I guess he thought it would appeal to the Torygraph’s rightwing blue rinse readers.

The music was fabulous, although they seemed to think that some of the old hymns weren’t good enough, and set new words to them, which haven’t yet stood the test of time.

Last night at the party for Changing Attitude volunteers, Gene autographed my copy of his ordination program…he was surrounded by minders after the consecration and hardly anyone could get close enough to him to speak with him. He’s very approachable and has an uproarious laugh. I suppose he needs to laugh a lot.

Jeffrey John was also at the party last night. He has put on some weight since I saw him last (which was before all the foofaraw over his appointment as Bishop of Reading). He’s been through the wringer so I guess I don’t begrudge him a bite or two. It turns out that he and Gene were in regular email contact but had never actually met before last night.

The question I wanted to ask Gene was: “Given that the US Presiding Bishop election is next summer, what do you think the Anglican Communion’s reaction would be to the first openly gay primate.” I didn’t get a chance to ask it, more’s the pity.

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