By Kara Witherow, Editor
Helen and Rev. Sam Rogers are teachers at heart.
The retired clergy couple, married 54 years, has served 53 years together in the South Georgia Conference. Rev. Rogers, a retired pastor, pastored 10 South Georgia churches across his 42 years of itinerancy.
Though Rev. Rogers retired from full-time ministry in 2000, they continue to minister and serve where the Lord leads.
Their newest ministry – writing the Advocate’s winter Sunday school lessons – combines their love of teaching and writing and allows the Lord to use them to minister to thousands of people in both North and South Georgia.
They will write lessons for the months of December 2011 and January and February 2012.
“We jumped at the chance to write these Sunday school lessons together,” Mrs. Rogers said.
Among the very first trained leaders of the Disciple Bible Study program in the South Georgia Conference, Mrs. and Rev. Rogers have led a Disciple class everywhere they’ve been, and at every level. They’ve taught all four of the major levels, including the new Jesus and the Gospels course.
“We feel that the Christian teaching ministry is such an important part of the church’s ministry,” Rev. Rogers said.
Receiving his calling years before entering college but thinking it would be in the area of science and medicine, Rev. Rogers was struggling with the direction of his life when he discerned God’s exact calling while at a Conference-sponsored gathering for college-age students.
“Being in ministry was not a doubt. God’s call on my life was real and had been for many years,” he said.
Ordained in 1958, Rev. Rogers served Waycross First UMC, Kingsland First UMC, College Place UMC in Brunswick, Trinity UMC in Warner Robins, Sherwood UMC in Columbus, St. Simons UMC, Vineville UMC in Macon, St. Paul UMC in Columbus, Isle of Hope UMC in Savannah and Tifton First UMC.
Although quite different, Helen’s calling to be engaged in full-time ministry was just as clear as her husband’s.
“When I was a senior in high school I felt that I needed to give my life to full-time Christian service, but I didn’t know what that meant,” she said.
Being a pastor’s wife has combined that call with her desire to have a family and raise children. A stay-at-home mother in the early years of their children’s lives, Helen began teaching as they got older. Very interested in Christian education, she took every Christian education course available, attended teacher training and became a certified lab instructor.
They carry their love of learning and teaching into their Sunday school preparation and writing. Before doing anything else, they each read and study the scripture and let it speak to them. They then read commentaries, reflect on the scripture and the writings, start to jot down ideas and then begin writing.
“The scripture is primary, and you let the scripture tell its own story,” Rev. Rogers said.
The Rogers stay very busy in retirement. They enjoy traveling and try to take one trip each year. Over the years, they’ve taken five groups to Israel and traveled to Alaska this summer.
Mrs. Rogers helps teach an adult Sunday school class and Rev. Rogers teaches and preaches when asked; he is also an adult literacy volunteer and delivers Meals on Wheels.
Their calendar stays full. “We’re not lacking for things to do,” Mrs. Rogers quips.
The couple’s three children – Gordon, Claire and Holly – have been a part of their ministry, too.
Through it all, they say their marriage and their ministry has been a partnership, and they are thankful that God has called them into life and ministry together.