Saturday, July 17, 2004

Former islander elected
Methodist bishop

A Wahiawa-born man was elected a bishop in the United Methodist Church yesterday.

The Rev. Robert Tsugio Hoshibata was elected by delegates to the Western Jurisdictional Conference of the United Methodist Church meeting in San Jose, Calif.

He will take office Sept. 1 as one of the 50 bishops who lead the second-largest Protestant denomination in the United States.

Hoshibata, 52, of Seattle, has served most of his ministry on the West Coast. He has been superintendent of the Seattle District since 1998. He was previously the pastor of North Gardena United Methodist Church in Gardena, Calif., and has also served as a minister at churches in Washington, Oregon and Connecticut.

A 1969 Leilehua High School graduate, he is the son of Violet Hoshibata, of Wahiawa. He is married to the former Greta Goo, of Kaneohe, and they have three children.

Hoshibata was active as a youth at Wahiawa United Methodist Church, and was a ministerial intern at Parker United Methodist Church in Kaneohe, Palolo United Methodist Church and Kahaluu United Methodist Church between 1977 and 1984.

"He's a real thoughtful, conscientious guy," said his brother, John, a Honolulu attorney. "We've had some interesting discussions on social issues between me, a former policeman and a clergyman.

"He will be one of the younger, more liberal bishops. I'm excited to see it. He has worked his way up."

Hoshibata earned a Doctor of Ministry degree from Claremont School of Theology in California. He has done postgraduate study at Vancouver School of Theology and Pacific School of Religion. He has served on the denomination's national General Council on Ministries and its Board of Global Ministries.

He will be consecrated this afternoon in a worship service at Los Altos United Methodist Church in Los Altos, Calif. His assignment within the western jurisdiction -- which includes 12 states, Guam and Saipan -- has not yet been announced.


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