Robert B. Lancia was born in Cranston, Rhode Island, on November 24, 1953. He graduated from Rhode Island College with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Social Science (Elementary Education Curriculum). In 1991, he completed the Master of Divinity degree at Andover Newton Theological School. Ordination was by Phillips Memorial Baptist Church of Cranston, Rhode Island, on Pentecost Sunday 19 May 1991.
Bob served as Pastor-in-Training at Wakefield Baptist Church, Wakefield, Rhode Island, from September 1988 to May 1991; as Associate Pastor at Wakefield Baptist Church from May 1991 to September 1991; as Interim Pastor at the Arlington Baptist Church, Cranston, Rhode Island, from September 1991 to December 1991; and as the Part-time Pastor at Meshanticut Park Community Baptist Church in Cranston, Rhode Island, from January 1992 to May 1993.
Commissioned in the United States Naval Reserve in February 1987, he attended Chaplain’s School in Newport, Rhode Island, during the summer session of 1987. As a Chaplain Candidate while in seminary, Bob had the opportunity to serve in a variety of settings including Mayport, Florida, Bethesda Naval Hospital and the Marine Corps Recruit Training Depot in San Diego, California. After graduating and serving one year at the Reserve Unit of Submarine Chaplains in Quincy, Massachusetts, he was recalled to active duty in May 1993 and reported aboard USS NORMANDY. Subsequent duty stations have included the Portsmouth Naval Hospital in Portsmouth, Virginia, and Naval Education and Training Center, Newport, Rhode Island.
In May 1998, LT Lancia was selected as the first United States Navy Chaplain to do an exchange with the Canadian military. He reported to Maritime Forces Atlantic in Halifax, Nova Scotia, on July 10, 1998. His skills and abilities were tested almost immediately, as Chaplain Lancia became intricately involved in the Swiss Air 111 crash off Peggy’s Cove, Nova Scotia serving as the on-scene chaplain aboard HMCS HALIFAX during the joint U.S./Canadian salvage and recovery effort. While in Canada he also completed a Doctor of Ministry degree in “Proclamation and Leadership” as part of a new program started by Dr. Robert H. Schuller at the Crystal Cathedral in Garden Grove, California and graduated live on Dr. Schuller’s Sunday morning “Hour of Power” T.V. program on January 28, 2001 (a graduation telecast internationally on Sunday, May 13, 2001).
As Chaplain Lancia began his second year in Halifax, Nova Scotia in the summer of 1999 he received two additional honors. In July 1999 he was notified that he had been selected as a LT Commander. In August 1999 he was chosen to attend a year of Navy Funded Graduate Education (for which he received a second Masters degree in “Psychology and Religion”).
Following the Navy’s Post-Graduate School Program, Chaplain Lancia was assigned to Marine Corps Base, Camp Lejeune, where he served both as the Headquarters & Support Battalion Chaplain for over 1500 Marines, sailors and their families as well as the Main Base Protestant Chapel Pastor.
Due to an injury sustained while serving with the Marines (a shattered right shoulder), Chaplain Lancia left active duty and returned to his hometown of Cranston, Rhode Island.
In November 2014 and again in 2016, Bob was elected to the Rhode Island General Assembly as a member of the House of Representatives from District 16 in Cranston. At that time, he sat on several House Committees, including the Committee on Health, Education and Welfare, the Committee on Veterans' Affairs, and the Committee on the Environment and Natural Resources.
Robert Lancia is married to the former Maryann Mulcahy of Providence, Rhode Island.