CONCORD, N.H., Nov. 7 (UPI) -- U.S. Episcopalian cleric V. Gene Robinson, the church's first openly gay bishop, said Saturday he will retire in just over two years when he will be 65.
Robinson wouldn't be required to step down until he turns 72 but cited stress as a factor in his decision to leave his leadership post early in January 2013, The Boston Globe reported.
"The fact is, the last seven years have taken their toll on me, my family, and you," he said in remarks prepared for delivery at the annual convention of the Episcopal Diocese of New Hampshire in Concord. "Death threats, and the now-worldwide controversy surrounding your election of me as bishop, have been a constant strain, not just on me, but on my beloved husband, Mark, who has faithfully stood with me every minute of the last seven years."
Robinson noted he has been sober for five years after seeking treatment for alcoholism.
Robinson, who was elected in 2003 and took office in March 2004, said his decision "comes after much prayer and discernment about what God wants for us at this time." He said his decision leaves the diocese enough time to pick a new bishop to present foo approval from the national church.
" I don't intend to be a 'lame duck,' as you deserve a bishop during this interim that is 'on all burners' for the remaining two years," he added. "I intend to continue to be fully engaged as your bishop in the remaining time we lead the diocese together."