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This Way Out Radio Episode #1757: Three Bishops: Two Obits, One Ovation!

Updated: Dec 7, 2021



On this week’s special program, we celebrate three bishops who made groundbreaking opening moves in Christianity’s inclusion gambit:


A 2001 conversation with Episcopal ally firebrand the Right Reverend John Shelby Spong, a leader in the struggle for LGBTQ ordination and marriage equality (interviewed by Brisbane, Australia correspondent John Frame).


A tribute to Unity Fellowship founder Archbishop Carl Bean, the gay pop star (“I Was Born This Way”)


Reverend Megan Rohrer, the first transgender Bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America — and maybe in the world — talks about their journey to the historic milestone (interviewed by Eric Jansen of "Out in the Bay - Queer Radio from San Francisco”).

Please note: to give our newsreaders a break to enjoy the holiday season, there are no NewsWraps for the weeks of November 29, 2021; December 27, 2021; nor on January 3, 2022.

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Complete Program Summary for the week of November 29, 2021


Three Bishops: Two Obits, One Ovation!

Program #1,757 distributed 11/29/21

Hosted this week by Greg Gordon and produced with Lucia Chappelle

(NewsWrap returns next week.)


Feature: Episcopal firebrand the Right Reverend John Shelby Spong passed away in September this year. He led his church’s procession to inclusion, first as an anti-segregation activist, then as a supporter of women’s rights, and finally as a proponent of LGBTQ ordination and marriage equality. In 2001 the former bishop of Newark, New Jersey visited Australia on tour for his autobiography, Here I Stand: My Struggle for a Christianity of Integrity, Love and Equality. He was interviewed there by This Way Out Brisbane correspondent JOHN FRAME (with music by ROMANOVSKY & PHILLIPS).


Feature: Archbishop Carl Bean also died in September. He was known around the world for his 1978 hit song I Was Born This Way, which inspired the similarly titled hit by Lady Gaga. Bean’s recording career actually began four years earlier, when he formed the R&B-gospel-mixing group Universal Love for All You Need Is Love. Although Bean said that the group was “ahead of the curve,” he drew the attention of the Motown producers who matched him with the Bunny Jones song that had previously been recorded by Valentino. Despite the success of I Was Born This Way, Bean turned down a Motown career and moved to a different calling. Ordained in 1982, he became the founding prelate of a network of African-American LGBTQ churches, Unity Fellowship — although the way he describes it in one sermon, it was not a very different calling after all (with excerpts from Bean with Universal Love singing All You Need Is Loveand as a solo artist, his Motown hit I Was Born This Way, introduced by LADY GAGA’s Bean-inspired Born This Way).


Feature: Reverend Megan Rohrer made history this year when they were installed as the first transgender Bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church In America — the first trans bishop of a mainstream U.S. Christian denomination. They talked about their journey to the milestone with ERIC JANSEN of Out in the Bay - Queer Radio from San Francisco. (excerpts, with music by Marsha Stevens-Pino and The San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus & Transcendence Gospel Choir).


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