The Most Rev. Peter D. Robinson is the Presiding Bishop of the United Episcopal Church of North America. He also serves as ordinary of the Missionary Diocese of the East and rector of Good Shepherd Anglican Church in Waynesboro, Virginia.
Bishop Robinson was born in Scunthorpe, Lincolnshire, England and grew up in the nearby town of Barton-upon-Humber. He was baptized into the Church of England as an infant but did not begin attending church regularly until he was fifteen. He became active in his local Church of England parish, singing in the church choir on Sundays and serving at the Eucharist on weekdays.
After leaving high school, the future Bishop Robinson read history and theology at the College of Ripon and York St. John, North Yorkshire, graduating Bachelor of Arts (Honours) of the University of Leeds in June 1991. He grew up in a high-side of central churchmanship parish that had had a long succession of “Prayer Book Catholic” vicars. After graduating from college, he served as a lay pastoral assistant in a liberal evangelical Church of England parish in London, which he describes as being “an interesting experience, in that it taught me just how deep-seated theological liberalism had become in the Church of England.” He also discovered that his conservative views – on the authority of Scripture, the Creeds and the Liturgy – led to barriers being erected by “the powers that be” in his home diocese to his being ordained there.
Shortly after the vote to ordain women in the General Synod (November 11, 1992), Peter left the Church of England, worried by the exclusively “liberal catholic” outlook of the leadership of his home diocese, and skeptical of theological validity of the “two integrities” theory being propounded to keep traditionalists in the Church of England. He was received into the Anglican Catholic Church on Trinity Sunday 1993 and accepted as a postulant for holy orders.
Bishop Robinson studied for ordination at Holyrood Seminary, Liberty, New York (now closed). He was ordained to the diaconate July 3, 1994 by the Rt. Rev. Leslie Hamlett, Bishop Ordinary of the Missionary Diocese of England and Wales, and served briefly as the bishop’s assistant curate. He was ordained priest in December 1995 and established a small mission in his home town, under the jurisdiction of the Free Church of England, where he served as vicar from 1995 to 1999. He also assisted at St. John’s, Newtownards, County Down, and elsewhere in the Church of Ireland (Traditional Rite) from 1997 to 1999.
After moving to the United States in November 1999, Mr. Robinson had to wait for more than a year for a work permit. He then spent a year as interim rector of St. Andrew Independent Anglican Church in Los Alamitos, California, leading it through the discernment process that eventually led to it becoming a parish of the Anglican Catholic Church. He was appointed priest-in-charge of St. Paul’s Anglican Church in June 2002 and moved to Prescott, Arizona the following November. Mr Robinson was appointed rector of St. Paul’s Anglican Church, Prescott in March 2003, and inducted the following August, and shortly afterwards was made Dean of Arizona. By 2005, the parish’s attendance had grown by 30%, and it was outgrowing the old church building on Lincoln Avenue. Faced with the need to move to a larger, more suitable building, Dean Robinson initiated and oversaw much of the resulting building project, drawing up the specifications for the new building, and initiating discussions with the architects. However, thanks to the steeply rising building costs, initial plans to build on acreage that the church owned southeast of downtown had to be abandoned. Efforts then shifted to examining existing buildings, with the former Hillside Church of God building on Hillside Avenue being identified as the most suitable. The parish purchased the Hillside building and moved in November 2007.
The Rev. Peter Robinson also took an active role in the administration of the Anglican Church in America Diocese of the West prior to his transfer to the United Episcopal Church. He served as area dean of Arizona 2003-2007; president of the Diocesan Standing Committee (2003-2007); a member of the Board of Examining Chaplains (2001-2007), as chairman of the Board of Examining Chaplains (2003-2005); and president of the Diocesan House of Clergy (2001-2006). He had first become interested in the United Episcopal Church in 2001, when leading his former parish in California. He rapidly concluded that the UECNA “was the old Anglican (or Episcopal) Church without the heresy and political correctness” because of its retention of the 1928 prayer book and old Episcopal Church constitution, and should circumstances allow it, he would eventually align with the UECNA. Eventually, in 2007, the Traditional Anglican Communion’s moves towards reunion with the papacy forced the issue and both Dean Robinson and St. Paul’s Anglican Church joined the United Episcopal Church in North America.
On October 29, 2008, the Rev. Peter Robinson was elected as a bishop-suffragan in the United Episcopal Church at their Ninth General Convention held at Coshocton, Ohio. He was consecrated January 10, 2009 by the Most Rev. Stephen Reber, Presiding Bishop of the UECNA, assisted by the Right Rev. D. Presley Hutchens of the ACC Diocese of New Orleans, and the Right Rev. William Wiygul of the APCK Diocese of the Southern States. The consecration was held at Trinity Lutheran Church in St. Louis, Missouri, and he served as bishop-suffragan from January to November 2009.
With the reorganization of the United Episcopal Church following the 2009 National Council meeting, Bishop Robinson became the Bishop of the Missionary District of the West, with responsibility for those states west of the Mississippi except for Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Mississippi, Arkansas, and Missouri. He was also liaison with the Anglican Province of Christ the King and the Anglican Catholic Church, the other two continuing Anglican churches directly descended from the St. Louis Congress of 1977. On April 24, 2010, the Most Rev. Stephen Reber announced that Bishop Robinson would be his successor as presiding bishop of the UECNA. He succeeded Bishop Reber on September 6, 2010 as acting Presiding Bishop. He was elected as the fifth Presiding Bishop of the UECNA on May 11, 2011 at the 10th General Convention held in Heber Springs, Arkansas.
Bishop Peter’s hobbies include reading detective novels, model railroading, British and American history, listening to classical music and traditional Scottish and Irish music, playing the Scottish smallpipes, studying church architecture and Church history – especially that of the English Reformation and the High Church and Evangelical Movements in the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. Bishop Robinson tends to identify as a ‘High Church Evangelical’ and acknowledges a particular debt to the English Reformers, the Caroline Divines, and to Anglican evangelicals such as Charles Simeon, J.C. Ryle, and Dean Wace. He is a member of the Prayer Book Society and the Protestant Reformation Society.
Bishop Robinson is married to Denise (née Krogh), a retired California peace officer. Denise was born in San Jose, California and grew up in Idaho. She plays the Great Highland bagpipes and identifies strongly with the Scottish side of her ancestry.