MARY LEE TALBOT – STAFF WRITER
When the Rt. Rev. V. Gene Robinson preached at the closing worship service for 2020, he said, “We are not going to emerge from the pandemic until we understand what we are supposed to learn during such a time as this.” Given the pandemic, the injustice of the justice system and the climate heading in the wrong direction, Chautauqua had to wrestle with how to not let go until blessed by God.
Chautauqua found a way through the CHQ Assembly Video Platform, a new way for Chautauqua to spread its wings and its message.
“Chautauqua is part of wrestling with how to answer the question: What does the world need more than ever? Unlike Davos, TED Talks or Aspen, we are not afraid to find God in all the wrestling. We are meant to renew our commitment to our mission and have the courage to have conversations that matter, and provide hope to a fearful, chaotic world,” Robinson said in the closing service.
The Department of Religion wrestled with all they learned last year while developing the worship services and lecture series for the 2021 season. Speaking about the 2021 season, Robinson said, “It’s been a great season for the Department of Religion. A steady stream of thoughtful, lively and inspired preachers. And what we lost in a slightly pared-back series of lectures, we more than made up for in quality. Maureen (Rovegno) and I could not be more pleased with our 2021 season.”
Robinson, vice president of religion and senior pastor, will preach at the final 10:45 a.m. Sunday ecumenical worship service with sermon. His sermon title is “Are We More than a Theme Park?” The Scripture reading is Matthew 25:31-46. Rovegno, director of religion, will serve as liturgist. Chautauqua Institution President Michael E. Hill will read the Scripture.
Robinson was elected Episcopal Bishop of New Hampshire on June 7, 2003, becoming the first openly gay and partnered priest to be elected Bishop in historic Christendom. He served as IX Bishop of New Hampshire until his retirement in early 2013. A senior fellow at both the Center for American Progress and Auburn Seminary, Robinson is a celebrated interfaith leader whose ministry has focused on helping congregations and clergy, especially in times of conflict, utilizing his skills in congregational dynamics, conflict resolution and mediation. He is the author of In the Eye of the Storm: Swept to the Center by God and God Believes in Love: Straight Talk about Gay Marriage. In 2009, at the invitation of President Barack Obama, Robinson prayed the invocation at the Opening Inaugural Event at the Lincoln Memorial.