The Rt. Rev. Kevin Thomas Robertson

Ordination Dates

Deacon: May 4, 1997, Diocese of Toronto
Priest: May 10, 1998, Diocese of Toronto
Bishop: January 7, 2017, Diocese of Toronto

Age: 46

Academic Background & 3 Most Important Professional Qualifications

Huron University College, London, B.A. (Hons.) 1993
The University of Trinity College, Toronto, M.Div. (Hons.) 1997
Developing Leadership Roles Certificate Program, Indiana, 2016
Living Our Vows Training Program for New Bishops, Virginia, 2017-Present
Transforming Managers into Leaders Certificate Program, Toronto, 2018

Parish Placements and Ministry History

Assistant Curate, St. Philip on-the-Hill, Unionville, 1997
Assistant Curate, Cathedral Church of St. James, Toronto, 1997-2000
Incumbent, St. Peter, Oshawa, 2000-2005
Incumbent, St. Nicholas, Birch Cliff, 2005-2011
Incumbent, Christ Church Deer Park, 2011-2016
Regional Dean, Eglinton Deanery, 2015-2016
Area Bishop of York-Scarborough, 2017-Present

Describe your spiritual journey and your prayer life.

Some of my earliest and fondest memories are of being in church with my family and childhood friends. Since that time, I have been guided by the life and teachings of Jesus, and have been aware of God’s call upon my life. Over the years, my spiritual journey has been enriched by pilgrimages to sacred places such as the Holy Land, Iona and Rome, as well as regular retreats and spiritual direction. My vocations as a deacon, priest and then bishop have been deepened by my other vocations as a partner to Mohan and a father to our twins. Together, these have helped me to grow more fully into the person that God has called me to be. My prayer life includes the daily office, as well as the practice of praying while running, a discipline that weaves together the care of body, mind and spirit.

What is the most significant leadership role you have played in your Diocese? What was your role and how did it contribute to your development and the mission of the Church?

The most significant leadership role I have played has been to serve as a bishop. In this ministry, I have learned to lead in a diversity of contexts, with clergy and laity from different theological perspectives and traditions. Working through complex situations and finding solutions together has helped me to become a more confident, flexible and creative leader, and I believe it has allowed my ministry to advance the Church’s mission. I have enjoyed creating and supporting opportunities for ongoing engagement, including: town hall meetings, a youth ministry summit, a clergy retreat, and one-on-one meetings with parish leaders. I have also tried to be an encourager, making space for clergy and parishes to try out new things, and providing resources to help them succeed. I am also proud to have created new space for the full inclusion of LGBTQ+ people in the life of our Church.

What is the most significant challenge you have faced as a priest or bishop to date? How did you address that challenge?

The most significant challenge for me has been being the first openly gay bishop in the Anglican Church of Canada. For some people, my election represented a departure from our Church’s teaching, and they have had difficulty receiving my episcopal ministry because of my sexuality. I have tried to show a different view, that sexuality is a gift from God, and that our unity lies first and foremost in the life, death and resurrection of Christ. Even as we disagree, many of us continue to be in gracious conversation with one another as we discern the leading of the Holy Spirit, and for that, I am grateful. The heightened profile of being an openly gay bishop has also been personally challenging for me and for my family, and it has been hard to be the recipient of private letters and public objections. On the positive side, I have been grateful to be so warmly received in parishes across the Diocese and beyond. Being a pioneer has been costly, but I believe it has allowed me to be more empathetic to those on the margins of religious acceptability, that is, those to whom Jesus ministered.

Describe what you intend to do in your first 100 days as the Diocesan Bishop (between January 1, 2019 and March 31, 2019) to address the vision of the Diocese of Toronto and Growing in Christ, the strategic plan?

In my first 100 days, I would set priorities that aligned with our vision to be “an Anglican community committed to proclaiming and embodying Jesus Christ through compassionate service, intelligent faith and Godly worship”. To this end, I would host gatherings across the Diocese to hear how Anglicans see this vision coming to life all around them. I would particularly want to hear the voices of youth, indigenous people, the diversity of cultural communities, and those who have been historically marginalized within the Church. I would also want every parish to commit to developing a local Mission Action Plan by the end of 2019. In implementing the strategic plan, Growing In Christ, I would want to find ways to bring it out of the synod office and into the wider life of the Diocese. Of the five key focus areas, my greatest passions are leadership development (lay and ordained) and the renewal of trust. Ultimately, my hope is that the strategic plan would enable our Diocese to become a place where all are fully welcomed, and where disciples of Jesus are formed and nurtured to embody God’s love in the world.

Given the realities of numeric decline in congregational participation and the need to steward our resources, how would you address the present situation? What do you see as the future of an Anglican presence in the geographic area of the Diocese?

We are experiencing such significant shifts in Church and society that we will need to think and act strategically to ensure that we are constantly “doing more with less”. Some difficult decisions will need to be made to realign resources. I continue to believe that the Anglican “brand” of Christianity has a vibrant future in the Diocese of Toronto, but it will mean being more creative about how we connect with our communities. I take very seriously the importance of renewing the local Church in its mission, and I am proud to have planted a dynamic new church community called “Church On Tap” during my time at Christ Church Deer Park. I believe that every parish needs to find ways of church planting if the Anglican presence is to survive and thrive. Going forward, we may find ourselves in fewer and less well-defined communities, but I believe we will be more intentional in our mission, and more nimble in adapting to change. A lively and creative engagement will be critical for our ongoing work of proclaiming by word and example the good news of God in Christ, and in bringing forth the reign of God’s justice, mercy and love.

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