[Chautauqua Institution press release] In anticipation of the departure of Director of Religion the Rev. Robert Franklin at the conclusion of the 2017 Chautauqua Institution season, President Michael E. Hill has announced plans to reorganize the Department of Religion with an eye toward shaping a national dialogue on faith in society.
Retired Episcopal Bishop Gene Robinson, formerly of the Diocese of New Hampshire, will assume the new role of vice president and senior pastor of the Chautauqua Institution effective Sept. 1. Robinson will provide executive leadership for the Department of Religion and will chair a new volunteer advisory group, the President’s Advisory Council on Faith in Society.
Currently a fellow at the Center for American Progress, Robinson is an internationally recognized interfaith leader. He is among the inaugural group of 13 senior fellows at Auburn Seminary, the first leadership development and research institute in the country to launch a fellowship program to cultivate the skills of multi-faith leaders working for justice. Also an outspoken advocate for the rights of marginalized populations, Robinson is recognized for his groundbreaking work with the LGBT community, youth communities and those suffering from abuse and addiction.
Longtime Associate Director of Religion Maureen Rovegno will be promoted to the role of director of religion, overseeing the day-to-day operations of the department and serving as a key programmatic partner to Robinson.
Robinson is no stranger to Chautauqua, having served as a popular and thought-provoking speaker/lecturer and as chaplain of the week during the 2011 season.
“Religion is at the center of many of today’s most pressing issues and most difficult challenges,” Robinson said. “Yet in our increasingly polarized society, there are fewer safe places to have meaningful conversation about those challenges. Chautauqua and its Department of Religion have been, and will continue to be, a place where those conversations can happen, where all viewpoints are heard, and where every human being is honored and valued. Through the curated conversations from a religious perspective, our goal is no less than to heal the world.”