Robert Tsugio Hoshibata
A sansei, or third generation Japanese-American, Robert Tsugio Hoshibata was born and raised in Hawaii. He learned to know Jesus Christ and grew to love the church through the ministry of Wahiawa United Methodist Church in the plantation town of Wahiawa. At age 14, Bob made a commitment to enter the ordained ministry of The United Methodist Church. From that moment, the church occupied much of Bob’s time and energy. He discovered and utilized gifts God had given him for ministry.
Following graduation in 1973 from Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut, with a B.A. with high honors, Bob studied at the Claremont School of Theology where he graduated with a D.Min. degree in 1977. While in seminary, Bob was named a Crusade Scholar and ordained deacon in 1974. After graduating from seminary, Bob was appointed to serve the North Gardena United Methodist Church and was ordained elder in 1979. After 7 years in North Gardena, Bob moved to the Pacific Northwest Annual Conference in 1984. For 14 years, he served as senior pastor for the Blaine Memorial United Methodist Church in Seattle, Washington. At the invitation of Bishop Elias G. Galvan, Bob was appointed Seattle District Superintendent until his election to the episcopacy in July of 2004 by the Western Jurisdictional Conference.
Bob has served as a member of the World Division of the General Board of Global Ministries, and as a board member of the General Council on Ministries for two quadrennia. His general church assignments have included the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry (2004-2008); and the General Board of Church and Society (2008-2016). Currently he serves as a member of the Board of Trustees for Claremont School of Theology. He represented the Pacific Northwest Annual Conference at General and Jurisdictional Conferences in 1996, 2000, and 2004. Upon election to the episcopacy, he was assigned to the Portland Area (2004-2012), and in 2012 was assigned to the Phoenix Area (Desert Southwest Conference) then reassigned in 2016.
Bob and his wife, Greta were married in 1974 and have three adult children. Daughter Courtney and son-in-law Bradley and their two daughters live in Columbia, Maryland; daughter Lauren and son-in-law Will live in Washington, D.C. and son Blake lives in Portland, OR.
Bishop Hoshibata’s Episcopal Candidacy Statement
Strong currents of change challenge our United Methodist Church. Eroding support for connectionalism, declining apportionment contributions, conversations about schism threaten our future. Episcopal leaders who will guide us successfully through change into a vital future must possess deep faith and clear vision. The difficult work of superintending for the whole church requires bishops to be fully engaged with persons in pew and pulpit. Creative leaders with strong relational abilities with competence in conflict resolution and problem solving are needed in order to successfully navigate these waters. I am willing and able to lead the whole church as we wrestle with theological differences threatening our viability and future. I will call us to accountability when we neglect our mission of disciple-making. I will lead with a Christ-centered pastor’s heart, offering my gifts to our church. I will encourage conversation and invite all to the table of discernment and prayer as we meet the challenges of our future together. While I will serve as a bishop for the whole church, as a member of the Western Jurisdiction, I stand firm and proud in unequivocal, unapologetic support and affirmation of our rich diversity of persons, cultures, languages, and theological positions.
Personal: Born in Honolulu, Hawaii, raised in Wahiawa, Hawaii; married to Greta Goo Hoshibata, August 10, 1974; three adult children and one grandchild.