The Right Rev. V. Gene Robinson
St. Thomas’ Parish is privileged to be the home church of Bishop Gene Robinson, retired bishop of the Diocese of New Hampshire. Gene generously shares is wealth of experience and spiritual wisdom with our Parish, and frequently preaches at our 11am service.
Bishop Robinson is famous internationally as a champion for human rights, and as the first priest in an openly gay relationship to be consecrated a bishop in a major Christian denomination. He was elected bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of New Hampshire on June 7, 2003, having served as Canon to the Ordinary (assistant to the bishop) for nearly 18 years. He was consecrated a bishop on All Saints Sunday, November 2, 2003, and was invested as the Ninth Bishop of New Hampshire on March 7, 2004.
Gene Robinson was born in Fayette County, Kentucky. According to his biographer (Adams, 2006), Gene’s parents were poor tenant farmers who worked in the tobacco fields as sharecroppers. The family used an outhouse, drew water from a cistern, and did laundry in a cast-iron tub over an open flame. Their house did not have running water until Robinson was ten years old.
Robinson graduated from the University of the South in 1969 with a B.A. in American studies and history. In 1973 he completed the M.Div. degree at the General Theological Seminary in New York, and was ordained deacon and then priest, serving as curate at Christ Church, Ridgewood, New Jersey.
He is the co-author of three AIDS education curricula for youth and adults, and has done AIDS work in the United States and in Africa (Uganda and South Africa). He has also been an advocate for antiracism training in the diocese and wider church. Robinson 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 is a past member of the Board of the New Hampshire Endowment for Health, which works for access to health care for the uninsured, and he currently serves as a trustee of the Church Pension Fund. He holds two honorary doctorates and has received numerous awards from national civil rights organizations. His story is featured in the 2007 feature-length documentary, “For the Bible Tells Me So,” and his book In the Eye of the Storm: Swept to the Center by God (Seabury Books, New York) was released in 2008.
Bishop Robinson has been particularly active in the area of full civil rights for gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people. Working at the state, national, and international levels, he has spoken and lobbied for equal protection under the law and full civil marriage rights. He has been honored by many LGBT organizations for this work, including the Human Rights Campaign, Lambda Legal, the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, GLAAD, and the Equality Forum.
Bishop Robinson was invited by Barack Obama to give the invocation at the opening inaugural ceremonies at the Lincoln Memorial on January 18, 2009.
In 2012, he authored God Believes in Love: Straight Talk About Gay Marriage, and a feature-length documentary on Bishop Robinson’s ministry, “Love Free or Die,” premiered at the Sundance Film Festival that same year.
Robinson enjoys entertaining and cooking, gardening, music, and theatre. He is the father of two grown daughters and the proud grandfather of two granddaughters.
Much of this biography references the Center for American Progress website – with thanks!