TAPESTRY

"In the loving image of God": meet Canada's first openly gay bishop

"The tension for me was not about my relationship with God. There was some tension certainly with the institutional church," says Bishop Kevin Robertson on life as the first openly gay Anglican Bishop.
Bishop Kevin Robertson at his installation as the first openly gay bishop in the Anglican Church of Canada in January 2017. (Courtesy of Kevin Robertson and W. Tay Moss)
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Kevin Robertson has been actively involved in the Anglican church his entire life. As a boy, he was an altar server and sang in the choir,  and as he grew up he realized that his faith was an integral part of his identity. He decided to pursue a life in the church as a member of the clergy. However this decision meant hiding one aspect of his identity from his peers - his sexuality. 

"When I was ordained in 1997 the church was not in the kind of place where that would have been acceptable publicly so I was ordained a deacon in 1997 and a priest in 1998 without my bishop officially knowing I was gay."

Bishop Kevin Robertson (Courtesy of Kevin Robertson and W. Tay Moss)

Since Robertson's first years as a member of the clergy,  the Anglican Church of Canada has evolved. In July 2016, in what became a controversial vote, the Anglican Church decided to allow same-sex marriage. Only a few months later, on September 17, 2016 Robertson was elected as the church's first openly gay bishop.

Although the church has made steps towards becoming more accepting of the LGBTQ community, there are still many inside the faith who remain adamantly opposed to both Robertson's election and the inclusion of same-sex marriage. Robertson believes that there is a place for all differing views within the church, and what's truly important is one's relationship with God.

In 2016 the Anglican Church of Canada voted to allow same-sex marriage and elected their first openly gay bishop. ( Lars Hagberg/ The Canadian Press)

"The tension for me was not about my relationship with God. I've never felt that tension, I believed from a very young age that I am made in the image of God and I have not felt a conflict about that. There was some tension certainly with the institutional church," he says.

Click listen to hear more about Kevin Robertson's journey from a gay teenager in the suburbs of Thornhill to becoming a trailblazing leader in the Anglican Church of Canada.
 


Web Extra | Watch the Anglican Church of Canada vote to allow same-sex marriage below.