Gay N.H. Bishop to Give Prayer at Preinaugural Event

New Hampshire Episcopalian Bishop Gene Robinson, the first openly gay bishop to be ordained in that church, will give the invocation during a preinaugural "welcome event" on the National Mall Sunday.

Robinson, whose ordination has caused a rift within the Episcopal Church, wrote friends to announce his participation in the event.

"I am writing to tell you that President-elect Obama and the Inaugural Committee have invited me to give the invocation at the opening event of the Inaugural Week activities, We are One, to be held at the Lincoln Memorial," Robinson wrote in an email, reported by the Asheville Citizen-Times.

Obama had been the brunt of criticism by some in his own party after asking evangelical minister Rick Warren, who critics allege has been an enemy to the gay and lesbian community, to give the invocation at his inauguration.

"I am humbled and overjoyed at this invitation, and it will be my great honor to be there representing the Episcopal Church, the people of New Hampshire, and all of us in the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community," Robinson added.