The Rt. Rev. Robert H. Johnson, Assisting Bishop to the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh, has agreed to continue to serve here until the next Diocesan Convention.
Bishop Johnson originally planned to stay through July. This week the Standing Committee requested, and the Bishop agreed, that he remain in Pittsburgh at least one week a month into autumn.
The Diocesan Convention is set for October 17, 2009, at Trinity Cathedral.
As Assisting Bishop, Johnson provides sacramental ministry to the parishes of the diocese and administrative guidance to its leaders, while ultimate authority still remains with the Standing Committee.
“He has been extremely influential in bringing us together and helping us rebuild. We’re pleased to have his extraordinary pastoral presence for another three months,” said Standing Committee President, the Rev. Dr. James Simons.
Soon after his arrival earlier this year, Bishop Johnson instituted Leadership Days, in which the newly reconstituted Diocesan Council, Board of Trustees, and Standing Committee meet for joint business sessions and fellowship.
Fran Gargotta of St. Brendan’s, Franklin Park, says she sensed a need for healing among her fellow Diocesan Council members, "and he knew just how to address that." Gargotta adds that she likes how Bishop Johnson stays focused on the future. "He’s very much geared toward ministry and how we should do what Christ wants us to do."
The Bishop has also been well-received in a flurry of parish visits.
“He has a great personal touch with people of all ages,” said the Rev. Lou Hays, recounting Bishop Johnson’s recent visit to St. Paul’s in Mt. Lebanon. “He connected with the kids who were being Confirmed, he connected with adults attending our Christian Education hour, he connected with the whole congregation hearing his sermon.”
Who will replace Bishop Johnson, and in what capacity, remains undecided. The Standing Committee is currently considering what ecclesiastical leadership structure would best serve the Diocese for the immediate future.
When not in the Pittsburgh diocese, Bishop Johnson resides in Ashville, North Carolina, with his wife, Julie. He retired there as the Bishop of Western North Carolina in 2004.