With Zoom meeting becoming a household word, and Covid 19 shutdowns gripping the nation, scholar and author Stephen Noll set himself to the task of preparing John H. Rodgers Jr.’s memoirs — electronically. This book’s delightful oral history results from Zoom sessions among Dr. Noll, Bishop John, and Josh Sullivan who set up and recorded the meetings. The three met online about twice a week over two months in fourteen sessions of about ninety minutes each, resulting in this page-turner book.
So what? Who benefits? A wide readership will benefit, while being entertained.
The career of John H. Rodgers, Jr. covers a wide and rich service of Christ. After a Midwest boyhood John Rodgers attended colleges in the Midwest including the University of Missouri. He loved football but learned he wasn’t fast enough for the college game. He accepted an appointment to the Naval Academy where upon graduation he chose a commission in the Marine Corps. After studying at Virginia Theological Seminary he studied with Karl Barth in Basel, Switzerland. His sojourn there required him to learn German from scratch, and the Doctor of Theology degree he earned required proficiency in three languages: Greek, Hebrew and Latin. John returned to Virginia Seminary, where he became Professor of Systematic Theology from 1963-1976. He then responded to God’s call to move to Trinity School for Ministry as Professor of Theology and then Dean/President from 1978-1990.
John was active in upholding orthodoxy in the Episcopal Church in the 1990s. He was consecrated in Singapore in 1990 as a Bishop of the Anglican Mission in America. After retiring as bishop, he fulfilled a long-time dream by writing his 735 page comprehensive commentary on the Thirty-nine Articles of Religion. The Faith of Anglicans (Anglican House, October 2021) is his delightful condensation of that work. John and Blanch Rodgers, the great joy in his life, were married for 61 years with four children and several grandchildren and great-grandchildren..
This story is at once fun, gripping, endearing, and enduring.