Bishop Sudarshana Devadhar of the New England Conference of The United Methodist Church has appointed Rev. Erica Robinson-Johnson to the key conference staff position of Director of Connectional Ministries/Assistant to the Bishop, effective September 1, 2013. Rev. Robinson-Johnson will succeed The Rev. James T. McPhee, who has been appointed as the Tri-State District Superintendent as of July 1, after having served on the conference staff for 14 years.
Rev. Robinson-Johnson is currently serving as pastor of Epworth United Methodist Church in Worcester, Mass, where she has been since 2008. In her 20 years of ministry, she previously served as pastor of Grace UMC in Lynn, MA (2004-2008); West Ridge Community UMC in Chicago, IL (2000-2004); and Jesse Walker UMC in Joliet, IL (1995-2000). In addition, she served as Assistant to the Treasurer/Director of Administrative Services for the Northern Illinois Conference in 2000, and as Adjunct Faculty and Cluster Coordinator of the Multicultural Cluster at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary in Evanston, IL from 2001-2004. Rev. Robinson-Johnson has also held positions as the director of the Peace and Justice Center at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary; chaplain at Yellowstone National Park, and a number of youth ministry positions at churches in Louisiana.
In her connectional responsibilities, Rev. Robinson-Johnson has served on numerous conference boards and agencies, both in Illinois and in the New England Conference. She has been a member of the Board of Ordained Ministry in New England since 2007, served on two Bishop’s Financial Summit teams (2006-09, 2011-12) as well as on the Preachers’ Aid Society Capital Campaign team (2009-present), and on the Metro Boston Hope District Committee on Ministry (2006-08). In the Northern Illinois Conference, she served as chair of COSROW (2001-04), chair of the District Council on Ministries (2001-04), and was a member of the Conference Board of Church and Society. Her experience also includes numerous teaching, preaching, and speaking engagements.
“Erica brings a breadth of experience and expertise to the conference leadership team, and together with her passion, creativity, and her vision for New England, ecumenism, and the global church, she is an ideal fit for the dual duties involved in the work of the Director of Connectional Ministries/Assistant to the Bishop,” Bishop Devadhar stated. “In addition, she brings significant gifts in the areas of administration, youth ministries, mission and outreach, and justice ministries. Together with Erica’s collaborative spirit, these qualities will serve the New England Conference well as we move into the new future that God is calling us toward.”
Although this is an appointed position, Bishop Devadhar sought assistance from a search committee formed specifically for this position, as well as inviting input from other key leaders in the conference. “I give thanks to God for the work, wisdom and discernment of the search committee throughout this process, and to the Cabinet, the references, and others for their affirmation of Erica in this role. I am also grateful for the discernment and willingness of Erica to follow God’s leading and take on this position,” he remarked.
Commenting on her appointment, Rev. Robinson-Johnson stated, “Our conference, and indeed our church, is in a period of deep change, and I seek to bring visionary leadership and renewed energy to the New England Conference as we journey together in this time. I believe that our ministry is never in isolation, but shared across the connection, and hope to help build partnerships of support to strengthen our shared ministry and build up one another in the body. I look forward to listening and learning your stories, and working in partnership with the wonderfully gifted laity and clergy across our conference, as well as with our brothers and sisters in other denominations.”
Rev. Robinson-Johnson received a B.A. in Christian Education from Centenary College of Louisiana, where she graduated Cum Laude in 1992 and was named to the Alpha Chi Honor Society in 1991-92. She was a Hutchinson Scholar and earned her Master of Divinity from Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary in Evanston, Illinois in 1995. She has been married for 20 years to her husband Doug Robinson-Johnson, who currently serves the United Parish of Auburndale in Massachusetts. The couple has a teenage son, Evan.
About the New England Conference
The New England Conference of The United Methodist Church (www.neumc.org) includes more than 600 United Methodist and federated congregations in Eastern Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont.
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