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Bishop Christopher’s Compass to Compassion tour stops in San Diego

SAN DIEGO -- Bishop Christopher Senyonjo, who arrives in San Diego on Wednesday, Aug. 17, spoke passionately at the Edinburgh Festival for Spirituality and Peace over the weekend urging the Scottish, UK and European governments to do all things necessary to bring about an end to criminalizing homosexuality worldwide.

Over half the 76 countries that currently send people to jail or execute LGBT people are members of the British Commonwealth, so British influence and leadership on this issue is vital.

Interviewed on BBC Radio 4 on Sunday, the bishop was asked about the role the 70 million member Anglican Communion plays in these conversations. The bishop replied, “They are indifferent.”

He shared his hope to meet with the Archbishop of Canterbury and other religious leaders to discuss this crisis.

“Religious attitudes to homosexuality are perhaps the major stumbling block to removing these draconian colonial laws that force millions of people to live as criminals,” he said. “The church is called to be compassionate and to listen to the suffering of these people. How can we advocate innocent people spending decades in prison or even suffering the death penalty, just because of how God has created us?”

The bishop met with officials at the Scottish Home Office and spoke at Glasgow Cathedral and St. John’s Church on the first leg of his three month tour “Compass to Compassion.” He arrives in San Diego on Wednesday with his wife Mary.

The San Diego connection

The bishop will be speaking at St. Paul’s Cathedral, 2728 Sixth Ave. in Hillcrest, on Sunday, Aug. 21, at the 8 and 10:30 am services and at the 9 am Forum he will be joined by The Rev. Canon Albert Ogle and Brent Sammons about the damage caused by global discrimination and how this can be changed.

The bishop will be attending a party at Ogle’s home at noon (reservations required at aogle@stpaulsfoundation.com) and speak later that evening at Dignity’s Mass at 6 pm.

On Monday, Aug. 22, at 7 pm, the bishop will meet with PFLAG San Diego.

On Tuesday, Aug. 23, from 6.30 to 8 pm, the bishop will meet with community representatives and friends interested in knowing more about his HIV work (it is illegal to provide prevention and education services for HIV to any LGBT people in Uganda, but this has not stopped the bishop’s latest HIV program).

The bishop will be hosted by Lifehouse, a 305-bed Skill Nursing Facility in San Diego that is part of a group of Skill Nursing Facilities throughout the country. They are creating a template for a LGBT/HIV and AIDS programs for seniors and others that need rehabilitation. With interdisciplinary care such as nutrition, nursing, activities and physical therapy, Lifehouse is a cutting edge program in San Diego that is interested in partnering with other organizations. They also have medical, psychiatric and psychological care, making sure that all staff members are culturally competent about the LGBT and HIV/AIDS community.

If you would like to attend the visit at Lifehouse reception at 2828 Meadowlark Lane, please RSVP to amedina@lifehousehs.com.