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Last Updated: Tuesday, 5 August, 2003, 20:00 GMT 21:00 UK
Robinson 'joy' at Church vote
Gene Robinson
Some overseas Anglican bishops could break ties if Mr Robinson is confirmed
Ahead of the bishops' vote on ratifying him as Anglican bishop of New Hampshire, Canon Gene Robinson spoke to the BBC's Emma Simpson.

What is your reaction to the decision by the US Episcopal Church's House of Deputies approving this appointment?

"I am absolutely overjoyed and also very humbled. It was an amazing experience in there, with the amount of respect and dignity with which everyone was treated.

"Both sides, I think, were struggling to discern the will of God and then vote from their hearts. And no one knew what was going to come out.

"To be at the centre of it is just an amazing thing.

"I have been so supported in prayer by so many people - young and old - that it has been and overwhelmingly faithful experience."

Is this one of the Church's finest moments?

"But remember this isn't over.

"We call all people who are on the fringes of our society into this wonderful Church"
Reverend Robinson
"When the House of Bishops next meets they will also have to consent to this election, and if they do give consent I will be on my way to being consecrated the ninth bishop of New Hampshire.

"Yes, I think it's one of the Church's finest moments. I think it's something that God is doing in, and through, the Church.

"The Episcopal Church today has said that there is no one beyond God's love.

"We welcome our brothers and sisters who happen to be gay and lesbian.

"We affirm their gifts for ministry and even beyond that, we call all people who are on the fringes of our society into this wonderful Church of ours."

How significant a decision do you think this is, in terms of the worldwide Anglican Church?

"Time will tell how significant this decision is.

"My great hope is that, although there will be many around the world who do not understand this decision, we will be able to pull together as an Anglican communion.

"That is our tradition.

"We are holding together. We are an Anglican Communion. We care about one another, so I'm very hopeful."

Are you worried that you might go down in history as the man who might provoke a split in the Anglican Church?

"This isn't my Church to win or lose, or my opponents'. This is God's Church and God will take care of the Church."

You feel no responsibility for this?

"I feel responsible for my own calling from God and the call from the people of New Hampshire to be their bishop, which I have said 'yes' to.

It will be only a few years before the Church of England is very ashamed about what happened to Canon Jeffrey John
Reverend Robinson
"And I care about those for whom this decision is very troubling.

"But if there is any kind of split that comes about over this, it will only be because those people have chosen to leave - not because anyone including me has asked them to leave, wanted them to leave or made them leave."

What message does this send the Church of England, which faced a similar issue and dealt with it very differently?

"In my opinion it will be only a few years before the Church of England is very ashamed about what happened to Canon Jeffrey John.

"I think it's a shame that he was not allowed to exercise that ministry, especially when he has been celibate and promises to be so.

"I think it's tragic and it won't be very long before the Church recognises that."

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