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Eucharist Draws 1200 LGBT Persons and Friends to Trinity Episcopal Church

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    Eucharist Draws 1200 LGBT Persons and Friends to Trinity Episcopal Church In Columbus: Bishop Robinson Preaches Love Them Anyway by John Gibson 17 June 2006
    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 18, 2006
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      Eucharist Draws 1200 LGBT Persons and Friends to Trinity Episcopal
      Church In Columbus: Bishop Robinson Preaches "Love Them Anyway"
      by John Gibson
      17 June 2006
      FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

      The Rev. Susan Russell, President of Integrity, was chief celebrant at
      last night's Integrity Eucharist-which has become a signal event on
      the Episcopal Church's General Convention calendar. According to Jim
      Bliek of Trinity Episcopal Church, where the service was held, over
      1200 worshippers attended-including a block-long file of vested
      lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) clergy in procession.
      The congregation filled the historic church literally from balcony to
      undercroft. Late-comers spilled into the churchyard and surrounding
      streets.

      The service featured the Rt. Rev. V. Gene Robinson, Bishop of New
      Hampshire, preaching a sermon that culminated in one of his most
      emotionally revealing appearances. It will surely be remembered as
      another watershed moment for LGBT persons in the church and their
      search for full inclusion in its orders and blessings. The evening
      encapsulated the great strength LGBT persons draw from each other as
      well as the strength of numbers and spirit they bring to the Episcopal
      Church.

      Bishop Robinson shared his personal witness of coming out as a gay man
      and entering into a lifelong relationship with another man. He
      reflected on the pain of his coming out and, later, his election as
      the Episcopal Church's first openly gay bishop. Robinson quoted at
      length from John Fortunato's "Embracing the Exile" (Harper, 1982). In
      the passage he cited, Robinson read of an encounter with God's love
      that had only one requirement: that when it came to those who would
      inflict pain on you, "you have to love them anyway."

      A podcast of Bishop Robinson's sermon is available at
      http://www.integrityusa.org/gc2006/ . (Scroll down to the Sermons
      section.)

      The service included the presentation of the Louie Crew Award-named
      for the pioneering activist who founded Integrity in 1974-to Bishop
      Robinson. The Rev. Michael Hopkins, the immediate past president of
      Integrity and its chief legislative strategist at this convention, was
      also honored with an award for his years of service to Integrity and
      the cause of LGBT persons in the church.

      Where others-including a few of the dissident conservative blogs-saw
      apocalypse for the Anglican Communion in this assembly of LGBT
      Episcopalians, their families, and friends, Robinson urged his
      congregation to look around themselves because "this is exactly what
      heaven will look like." Indeed, the diversity of race, gender, age,
      nationalities, and orders, was remarkable even for an Integrity event.
      It was this spirit that pervaded the corner of Broad and Third
      streets, where Trinity Church sits-directly across from the Ohio
      Statehouse.

      In this convention's search for clarity and honesty in our position as
      Episcopalians in an ongoing conversation with Anglicans around the
      world,few images could have been more clear in their depiction of the
      overflowing church of full inclusion for all the baptized. That is an
      image, and a reality, to share with the worldwide Anglican Communion.

      Press Contacts:

      Ms. Louise Brooks
      Chief Press Officer
      626-993-4605
      commteam2@...

      Mr. John Gibson
      Communications Team Manager
      917-518-1120
      commteam2@...
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