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 at 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 (2008-2012, president 2012-2016). 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.