Guest opinion: Retiring reverend has been an inspiration to his congregation and the community
Our community over the years has been blessed by the presence of several wonderful clergy representing the major faiths who have brought comfort, wisdom and a passion for social justice to their congregations and our citizens.
On Sunday, April 18, Charles Robinson will officiate at his last official church rite as the rector of St. Luke’s Episcopal Church after 17 years of pastoral care, shepherding and providing challenging and inspiring homilies.
Those of us in attendance will be there with a sense of many mixed feelings. A sense of joy for what he has brought to his congregants will be our predominant emotion but our sense of loss and the uncertainty of what the future will bring will also be present. We will also bring our thoughts and hopes for a healthy and productive retirement for him and his wife, Bonnie.
But his influence has extended far beyond his church and into our community as the founder of “The Project for Deeper Understanding.” Charles’ deep commitment to the belief that people of different beliefs, political persuasions and passionate commitment can come together in a setting of mutual respect and civility to seek common solutions to problems and challenges has motivated much of his work in the greater Park City community over the years.
Those fortunate enough to have attended these forums know of what I speak. They were occasions that allowed and encouraged dialogue and thoughtfulness, seeking not for the right answer but always for the alternative or better solution. These forums were always civil and respectful if not pointed and contentious as well at times. Hopefully, they will continue as his legacy.
But the essence of this shy and somewhat retiring clergyman is to be found in his deep and abiding belief that Christianity and belief in Christ are a never-ending search and journey. He would tell you that we are all travelers on the path called life where certainty and guarantees are ever so elusive.
Charles’ message in his Easter homily focused on Reinhold Niebuhr’s oft-quoted Serenity Prayer that reminds us to ask, “God, grant us the serenity to accept the things we cannot change, the courage to change the things we can, and the wisdom to know the difference,” a prayer well suited to all believers.
What I will always remember were our Wednesday afternoon gatherings where he brought together women and men of the parish and community for two hours of always challenging discussion. The topics ranged across philosophy, religion, economics, politics or whatever an individual or the group wanted to discuss. The camaraderie and open discussion of those searching for those elusive commodities — truth, justice, acceptance of differences, the humanity of all were always spirited, insightful and thought provoking. I learned much.
So, on behalf of myself and all who have been graced by Charles’ presence and influence I say, “Thank you and go in peace in search of the Lord and his wisdom.” You have served us well. Happy retirement!
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