Brooklyn Heights

Grace Church Brooklyn Heights calls first black rector in 170-year history

January 8, 2018 By Francesca Norsen Tate, Religion Editor Brooklyn Daily Eagle
The Rev. Dr. Allen F. Robinson. Photo courtesy of Grace Church
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Grace Church Brooklyn Heights, which was founded in 1847, has announced that the Rev. Dr. Allen F. Robinson will be its 15th rector — and first black rector in the parish’s 170-year history.

The wardens of Grace Church, Vivian Toan and Kate Rock, made the announcement via email on Sunday afternoon, Jan. 7.

Robinson comes to Brooklyn from St. James Church in Baltimore, where he has been rector since 2002. The parish, also known as St. James’ at Lafayette Square, is older than Grace Church. Organized in 1824, St. James’ was the first black Episcopal church south of the Mason/Dixon line and the third black Episcopal congregation established in the U.S.

Robinson had also previously served as associate rector of Calvary Church in Memphis, Tennessee; as assistant rector of St. Dunstan’s Episcopal Church in Houston, Texas; and as assistant rector of St. James’ Church, also in Houston.

He studied at the Virginia Theological Seminary and was ordained in 1995. He received his Doctorate of Ministry degree with a dissertation on congregational development, from the Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California.

Robinson will begin work here on Monday, March 19, and celebrate his first services on Palm Sunday, March 25.


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