Sunday, August 03, 2008

Gene Robinson in Glasgow

Originally uploaded by goforchris.
I skipped the service at Holy Trinity today, along with the organist (aka Mr B) and the only soprano you can hear behind a bus ticket (aka Mrs Heathbank) and took myself off to my native city to receive communion at a Eucharist presided over by Bishop Gene Robinson. Who he? Well, I know there are some of you out there who aren’t Anglicans, but he’s the only bishop in the worldwide Anglican Communion who was barred from attending the Lambeth Conference which is just ending – because he’s gay and lives with another man and doesn’t lie about it.

It was great. You can hear his sermon (and see it) here – thanks to the techno-tendencies of the Provost. And you can read me saying that it felt really good to hear a bible-based sermon which openly addressed the whole inclusiveness thing, not in guarded words for those who know the code, but up front and powerfully. And I felt proud to be a member of the Scottish church which provided the altar of St Mary’s Cathedral in Glasgow for +Gene to celebrate the Eucharist – because he wasn’t allowed to do this in England. At the end of the service, the entire congregation (a big one) rose to applaud this little man who has been through so much at the hands of fellow-Christians. Did it make a difference? I’d say it did. It ran a coach and horses through the prevaricating stuff I’ve just heard on the evening news as the last word from Lambeth, because this was real, this was blessing and celebration and being part of the body of Christ in a meaningful way.

And you know what else was great? The people who turned up. Like blogger Mad Priest: I realise I’d got into the habit of thinking of him as a willowy sap in a high clerical collar and a cassock – wrong, wrong! (His blog has just frozen Firefox for the umpteenth time and caused me to rewrite this post, but I shall forgive him and continue to read him on my feed reader). I know now that if people address me as Chris then it’s because they know me through this blog, and that’s exciting too. I’ve kept up with Bishop Gene’s blog during Lambeth, so in a way I feel I know him better too, even though we didn’t meet.

So, a good day. I’ll take one sentence from +Gene’s sermon which inspired me:
“Let’s continue to be God’s people and let God worry about the Church”. But today the Church – or at least the part of it worshipping in the Cathedral – felt as if God didn’t need to worry quite so much. Not today, anyway.


  1. Christine, what a lovely account of the splendid sermon and Eucharist at St. Mary's. I'm envious of all of you who were there. Bishop Gene is a beautiful man. He radiates the love of God.

  2. I am so jealous. I love St Mary's and the chance to have been there for that day would have been amazing.

    So jealous!

    It sounds like a wonderful day.

    May we now assume that Fr Jonathan looks nothing like John Henry Newman?

  3. Dennis, you may safely so assume.

    g m - I still don't think I did the day justice, but thank you.

  4. You are so lucky! On two points. And you aren't going to tell us about MP? ARGH!

    I too use Safari for OCICBW and Firefox for everyone else.

  5. Wasn't it a brilliant day? Fantastic account, Mrs B. I couldn't have put it better myself :p

  6. Anonymous3:15 PM

    So what DOES MP actually look like? I'm dying to know!

  7. Anonymous8:25 PM

    I enjoyed the service too Chris.

    What I sensed in the church was a feeling of hurt, humility and hope.
    There was a distinct absence of bravado or triumphalism.

    So it was an altogether pleasing experience.

    On the subject of inclusiveness,
    have you been to the Travelling Peoples caravan site in Dunoon yet to seek new people for your church.
    I have a cousin who lives there from time to time, his name is the same as mine Jimmy McPhee.

  8. Working backwards: Jimmy - wish we'd met! And no, I haven't, but you're right - I should! I've never even set foot on the site.

    Kenny and PseudoP: I'll be gracious. MP? Bigger than me; brown hair; green shirt. Howzat? ;-)

  9. Anonymous12:02 AM

    While googling for Gene Robinson's blog, I was given by the trying-to-outguess-me search engine an entry "Gene Robinson blogspot" (I actually typed "blogspit", which seems prescient, as you will see). I felt lucky, and was taken immediately to an odious blog y-clept "Blaney's Blarney". The eponymous scribbler seems to have had an average education wasted on him.

    The post in question is dated July 14th - the anniversary of the liberation of some lunatics from the Bastille, appropriately enough. He seems to have an addiction to innuendo and the arch use of inverted commas. Presumably he's too much of a sly and self-regarding prig (another typo, should you care to make it so) to come out from his cobwebbed closet and say what he really thinks. Try it - and pass the disinfectant.

    If I had +Gene's compassion, I'd be a better (no typo!) person. If Blaney had +Gene's compassion, I'd believe in miracles.

  10. Anonymous2:34 PM

    C'mon, Chris, we need a better description than "bigger than me". Who isn't? Was it a green clerical shirt?

    Oh! And how many sopranos felt like doing you in after your original post?

  11. Kenny: he was a man, take him for all in all, I shall not look upon his like again.

    And no: not a clerical shirt. I think there may have been subtle little checks...

  12. I think there may have been subtle little checks...

    Chris, I suppose the checks were really, really subtle, if you cannot recall for certain whether there were checks at all. ;o)

  13. Chris,
    Thanks for reporting on the sermon. I hope to someday be able to hear Bishop Robinson in person. By the way, interesting articles on Anglicans in Saturday's Birmingham (Alabama) News that I plan to report on Monday or Tuesday.