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(Salt Lake City-AP) -- The Right Reverend Carolyn Tanner Irish, Episcopal Bishop of Utah, offered prayers today on the consecration of Gene Robinson as bishop of New Hampshire.
Robinson is the first openly gay bishop the Episcopal Church has ordained.
Irish says the church has sought to embrace diversity, but because Robinson is homosexual there has been an escalation of angry rhetoric in the United States and abroad from those who want to divide the church.
Irish says prayers for Robinson have been resolute and constant since his election as a bishop, and the General Convention's consent to that election last summer.
Robinson, who is 56, became a bishop today when the 55 other bishops attending the ceremony in Durham, New Hampshire, surrounded him for the laying on of hands.
Conservatives have made moves to break from the church over Robinson. Leaders of the global Anglican Communion have said his consecration puts their worldwide association, with 77 (M)million members, in jeopardy.
(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)