Press Advisory

Working for Justice and the Common Good

The Struggle for Inclusion, Diversity and Equality Within Religion

WASHINGTON, D.C. – On November 2, 2006, the Center for American Progress will host a discussion with Bishop Gene Robinson on the struggle for inclusion and equality within his faith tradition and other institutions.

As the first openly gay bishop in the Episcopal Church, Gene Robinson has faced both hostile opposition and support from both religious and secular communities. His election in 2003 triggered a struggle within the worldwide Anglican church over human rights for gay men and lesbians—a struggle that reflects tensions and rifts within the larger society today. All the while he has uphold ideals of respect and compassion and in fighting divisiveness, Bishop Robinson has been an outspoken defender of the common good.

Featured Speaker:
Rt. Rev. V. Gene Robinson, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of New Hampshire

Moderated by:
Rev. Jennifer Butler, Executive Director, Faith in Public Life Welcome

Introduction by:
Winnie Stachelberg
, Senior Vice President for External Affairs, Center for American Progress

Thursday, November 2, 2006
Program: 9:00am to 10:30am
Admission is free.
Breakfast will be served at 8:30am

Center for American Progress
1333 H St. NW
Washington, DC 20005
Map & Directions

Nearest Metro: Blue/Orange Line to McPherson Square or Red Line to Metro Center

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Reverend V. Gene Robinson was elected Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of New Hampshire on June 7, 2003, having served as Canon to the Ordinary (Assistant to the Bishop) for nearly 18 years. He was consecrated a Bishop on All Saints Sunday, November 2, 2003, and was invested as the Ninth Bishop of New Hampshire on March 7, 2004. A 1969 graduate of the University of the South, Sewanee, Tennessee, he has a B.A. in American Studies/History. In 1973, he completed the M.Div. degree at the General Theological Seminary in New York. Early in his career, Gene was the Founding Director of Sign of the Dove Retreat Center, in Temple, New Hampshire and the Youth Ministries Coordinator for the seven dioceses of New England. Clergy wellness has long been a focus of Gene’s ministry, and in the nineties he developed the Being Well in Christ conference model for The Cornerstone Project, and led clergy conferences in over 20 dioceses in the U.S. and Canada. He initiated Fresh Start, a two-year mentoring program for all clergy in new positions in New Hampshire. Much of his ministry has focused on helping congregations and clergy, especially in times of conflict, utilizing his skills in congregational dynamics, conflict resolution and mediation. Co-author of three AIDS education curricula for youth and adults, Gene has done AIDS work in the United States and in Africa (Uganda and South Africa). He has been an advocate for anti-racism training in the diocese and wider Church. He helped build the Diocese of New Hampshire’s close working partnership with the New Hampshire Community Loan Fund, advocated for debt relief for the world’s most impoverished nations, and lobbied for socially-responsible investment within and beyond the Church. He is a past member of the board of the New Hampshire Endowment for Health, which works for access to health care for the uninsured. Bishop Robinson currently serves as a trustee of the Church Pension Fund.

Rev. Jennifer Butler is Executive Director of Faith in Public Life. An ordained Presbyterian minister, Butler most recently served as the Presbyterian Church (USA) Representative to the United Nations (UN). During her nine years at the UN, Butler represented the denomination on a range of issues, including women’s rights, genocide in the Sudan, and the war in Iraq. As a member of the UN Executive Council of the Committee of Religious Non-governmental Organizations (NGOs), Butler was a leading spokesperson and published author on the issues of religion and human rights. Her book on the Christian Right and International Policy will be published by the Pluto Press in December 2006. Butler served in the Peace Corps from 1989 to 1991 in a Mayan village in Belize, Central America. A graduate of Princeton Seminary, she holds a Master of Social Work from Rutgers University and Bachelor of Arts from the College of William and Mary.

Winnie Stachelberg is the Senior Vice President for External Affairs. Prior to joining the Center, she spent 11 years with the Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest gay civil rights organization. In January 2005, Stachelberg was appointed to the newly created position of Vice President of the Human Rights Campaign Foundation. Charged with revamping HRC’s Foundation, Stachelberg’s early priorities included building a think tank, launching a religion and faith program and rebuilding the National Coming Out Project. Previously, she was HRC’s political director, initiating and leading the expansion of HRC’s legislative, political and electoral strategies. Stachelberg joined HRC in 1994 as senior health policy advocate and helped to establish the organization as a key advocate in HIV/AIDS, lesbian health and other health care issues affecting the GLBT community. Before joining HRC, Stachelberg worked at the Office of Management and Budget in both the George H.W. Bush and Clinton administrations, formulating and reviewing health care policies and budgets for the Department of Health and Human Services. A native New Yorker, Stachelberg taught at George Washington High School after graduating Georgetown University. She received a Master of Public Administration from George Washington University.