Reverend Gary L. Robbins and his wife, Phyllis, come to us from Greene Memorial United Methodist Church in Roanoke.
Whether working as a youth minister, pastor, college chaplain, or staff member for the Virginia Annual Conference, Gary has always enjoyed opportunities to teach and preach. A graduate of High Point University (summa cum laude) and Princeton Theological Seminary, Gary has served churches in rural, suburban, and university settings in Virginia, New Jersey, and North Carolina and has led workshops on youth ministries, young adult ministries, prayer, spirituality, Christian theology, and the Bible.
For years, Gary has been an avid proponent of “immersion experiences”—experiences that invite youth, undergraduate students, and graduate students to become involved body, mind, and spirit in an issue. While serving as the Conference Youth Coordinator for the Virginia Annual Conference, Gary helped to launch Voices of Youth and Harvest of Hope and led groups to Richmond, Washington, and New York for legislative affairs seminars. Over the years, he has orchestrated UMVIM teams to Mississippi, Oklahoma, Russia, Guatemala, Mexico, Estonia, Nicaragua, and the Bahamas. As the chaplain of Shenandoah University, Gary developed campus life programming that yoked personal and social holiness and worked to develop experiences that involved students in cultivating their prayer and devotional life while exploring issues of social justice, global poverty, and Third World development.
During his thirty-seven years of ministry, Gary has served on the Conference Council on Age-Level Ministries, the Conference Boards of Discipleship, Global Ministries, Higher Education Ministries, and Diaconal Ministries, and the Executive Committee of the Conference Council on Ministries. Over the years, he has served as the Co-Chair for the Virginia Conference Board of Church and Society and served as Chair of the Resolutions Committee of the Virginia Annual Conference.
Gary and Phyllis met in ninth grade and have been married for more than 40 years. Phyllis is from the Warrenton area and has been a preschool teacher for more than 30 years. Kevin, their son, is 35. He is married and living in Northern Virginia, where he is pursuing a Master’s degree in international food policy. Katie, their daughter is 31. She lives in Lincoln, Nebraska and teaches literature, writing, and film studies at Nebraska Wesleyan and Metropolitan Community College in Omaha. She is pursuing a Ph.D. in Educational Technology from the University of Nebraska in Lincoln.
When he has free time, Gary enjoys reading, hiking, and music and has an ongoing interest in “Spirituality and the Arts,” “The History and Culture of the Bible,” and “Religion and Contemporary Culture.”