When Bishop William White of Philadelphia became a bishop in 1787, he was No. 2 in the Episcopal Church’s chain of apostolic succession.
When Bishop V. Gene Robinson was consecrated in 2003 — the first openly gay, noncelibate Episcopal bishop — he was No. 993. This fact was more than a trivia-game answer during a recent sermon that represented a triumphant moment both for Robinson and his church’s liberal establishment.
Standing on White’s grave before the altar of historic Christ Church, the former New Hampshire bishop quipped that he did “feel a little rumble” when he referenced the recent Episcopal votes to approve same-sex marriage rites. But Robinson was convinced White was not rolling over in his grave.