The Falls Church, an Episcopal Congregation, announces “Love, despite; A Conversation with Bishop Gene Robinson,” on Saturday, October 29th, 2022, from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. in the Historic Church, South Washington and East Fairfax Streets, Falls Church, Virginia. The event is free and open to the public and reservations (available here) are highly recommended.
Bishop Robinson will also preach the following day, Sunday, October 30th, 2022, at both the 9:00 a.m. and the 11:15 a.m. services of The Falls Church. The public is invited to attend worship as well.
Elected and ordained bishop in 2003, The Rt. Rev. Gene Robinson, Retired Bishop of New Hampshire, was the first partnered, openly LGBTQ+ bishop in The Episcopal Church as well as the Anglican Communion. His election—and the subsequent approval by a necessary majority of diocesan authorities within The Episcopal Church—caused shockwaves within the Anglican Communion and began a movement of parishes disaffiliation from The Episcopal Church over issues of sexuality, including The Falls Church. Beginning with his ordination, at which he wore a bullet-proof vest to shield himself from assassination threats from theological conservatives, Robinson has served as a symbol of progressive Christianity and expanded inclusion of LGBTQ+ persons of faith within The Episcopal Church. After retirement from the episcopacy in 2013, Robinson served as a Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress and Vice President and Senior Pastor of the Chautauqua Institution. In 2006, The Falls Church voted to leave The Episcopal Church in 2006 in response to Robinson’s ordination and claims of scriptural abandonment, beginning a legal battle with The Diocese of Virginia and The Episcopal Church that ended in 2014, when the United States Supreme Court declined to hear the case, thus allowing an earlier Virginia Circuit Court decision to stand that sided with The Diocese of Virginia. Fewer than forty Episcopalians, who had been worshiping at a nearby Presbyterian Church, returned to The Falls Church campus, and the congregation has grown exponentially in the intervening years, following a mission of radical welcome and ministry to those on the margins. In 2021 The Falls Church called the first queer, married rector in its nearly three-hundred-year history and has identified ministry to and with the queer faithful as one of the parish values (found here https://www.thefallschurch.org/the-values-of-the falls-church-episcopal) that informs its strategic vision.