Rev. Dr. Robin Dease, senior pastor of St. Andrew By-The-Sea UMC in Hilton Head Island, was elected Thursday as a bishop of The United Methodist Church by delegates to the 2022 Southeastern Jurisdictional Conference.
Dease, who served as superintendent of the Hartsville District for eight years before her appointment as senior pastor of St. Andrew By-The-Sea, was born in Brooklyn, New York. After moving to South Carolina, she graduated from Claflin University in 1992. She earned a master of divinity degree and a doctor of ministry degree in stewardship from Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, D.C.
Dease joined the South Carolina Conference in 1992, became a full-time local pastor in 1998, and was ordained an elder in 2001. Her pastorates include Wesley UMC in Johns Island (1998-2008), John Wesley UMC in Greenville (2008-2012), and St. Andrew By-The-Sea UMC in Hilton Head (2021-present). She also has served as superintendent of the Hartsville District (2013-2021), and in 2012, was interim chair of the Department of Philosophy and Religion at Claflin University in Orangeburg.
Her appointment as senior pastor at St. Andrew By-The-Sea made her the first African-American woman to serve as lead pastor of a historically white United Methodist church in South Carolina.
Dease has been involved in numerous denominational and conference boards and committees, and has been active in other organizations in the communities where she has served (Ministerial Alliance, Chamber of Commerce, United Way Faith-Based Committee).