As news of his retirement made headlines around the globe, Bishop V. Gene Robinson paid a quiet visit to a small parish in Wolfeboro, N.H., yesterday, leading services for a vacationing rector and meeting with the church board, but only briefly mentioning that he was stepping down as leader of the state’s Episcopal Diocese.
Friends and parishioners say it was typical Robinson, who remained the approachable, empathetic, and motivated spiritual leader that many in the state know simply as Gene, even as he became an international figure at the center of a rift in the Anglican Communion and a target for death threats which, he acknowledged in a speech Saturday, have exacted a price.
“The fact is, the last seven years have taken their toll on me, my family, and you,’’ Robinson, 63, told the annual convention of his diocese, disclosing that he will step down in January 2013 after nearly a decade as bishop, nearly seven years shy of the mandatory 72-year-old retirement age. “Death threats, and the now-worldwide controversy surrounding your election of me as bishop, have been a constant strain, not just on me, but on my beloved husband, Mark, who has faithfully stood with me every minute of the last seven years.’’
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