The progressive faith community lost a giant this week with the passing of the Rt. Rev. John Shelby Spong, retired Episcopal bishop of Newark, NJ, prolific writer, and a towering figure in fearless, faithful, loving theology for many decades. A champion of gender equality and LGBTQ+ rights, he ordained the first openly gay man to the Episcopal priesthood in 1989, and to his last days never stopped fighting for a more inclusive Christianity.
While he had many detractors – as any prophet will – Bishop Spong is named time and again as the writer, the voice and the conscience that helped lead countless despairing Christians back to their faith. This week on State of Belief, Interfaith Alliance’s weekly radio show and podcast, we will look back on the life and legacy of John Shelby Spong, who passed away on September 12th at the age of 90.
Fourteen years after ordaining the first openly gay man into the Episcopal priesthood, the denomination elected its first openly gay bishop, the Rt. Rev. Gene Robinson. Now the retired Episcopal Bishop of New Hampshire, Bishop Robinson will join Rev. Welton Gaddy, host of State of Belief, to discuss the impact of Bishop Spong’s ministry, now and into the future.
A much-in-demand speaker, Bishop Spong nonetheless found time regularly for State of Belief, and joined Welton to not only give his thoughts on the religion news of the day, but to share his vision of a more inclusive, more loving Christianity. In honor of his memory, we will revisit interviews from 2013, 2009, and 2018.
And Welton will share some of his own recollections of Bishop Spong’s impact on his ministry – and his faith.
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