January 26, 1886 - Spring 1943
|Benjamin Franklin Rogers, scholar, educator, jurist, lecturer, writer, preacher, gentleman and humble servant of Jesus Christ, was born in Prentiss, Mississippi, Jan. 26, 1886, and went to his Father’s house in the spring of 1943.
The son of Rev. John Harbard Rogers and Alice Gresham; he secured his higher education at Normal University and the University of Mississippi, later obtaining the degree of Doctor of Laws from Cumberland University of Tennessee in 1909. His theological studies were conducted at Candler School of Theology at Emory University in Atlanta, Ga., from 1924-28.
On Sept. 25, 1915, he was married to Miss Rebel Milburn of Dallas, Texas. There were
born of this union four children: Catherine Willy now employed in California; Benjamin Franklin, now in the United States Air Corps; John Roland, now in the United States Marines; and Robert Gresham, a student in California.
Dr. Rogers was admitted to the Bar in Oklahoma in 1909, after having taught school in Mississippi for two years. In the field of law he became an able jurist and was appointed assistant United States District Attorney in 1914, in which capacity he served with honor and distinction.
In the last war he gave up his position with the Government and served with the Army Y.M.C.A. At the conclusion of the war he gained much favorable publicity as a Chautauqua lecturer.
But during all of these years of successful life in secular pursuits there was restlessness in his life that would not be stilled; and it was only after he had yielded to the call of the Holy Spirit to enter the ministry that he was completely happy in his life’s work.
Dr. Rogers was licensed into the ministry of the former Methodist Episcopal Church, South, in 1923; ordained deacon in 1925 and elder in 1928. His first pastorate was the Florida University Church, which he served for two years. And today one of the strongest Wesley Foundations in our country is located there and housed in a most magnificent building, all of which is the direct result of Dr. Roger’s ministry there. From the University Church he went to Lake City, Florida, where he also served for two years. In 1927 he was made editor of the Florida Christian Advocate, which position he held until 1929. From this editorship he was moved to the Ocala District, where he served as Presiding Elder until 1931.
The following year he was transferred to the Louisiana Conference and served the Carrollton Avenue Church in New Orleans, from which appointment he went to the Lake Charles District to serve as its Presiding Elder. For four years the District grew and prospered under his wise, efficient and great Christian leadership. Upon the conclusion of his term as Presiding Elder of the Lake Charles District he served the churches at Haynesville and Mangum Memorial.
In 1939 he accepted the post of Y.M.C.A. Secretary at Louisiana State University. Here he served with consummate skill and efficiency as he worked with young men of all faiths on the campus. But Dr. Rogers never forsook his great love for the ministry; and even as he served as Secretary of the Y.M.C.A. on the campus he gave impetus to plans for a Methodist Church at Louisiana State University. In this great enterprise he gave his wise counsel, his genius of leadership and his unerring foresight until the foundational plans were laid for an enter-prise that will yet come to completion in the years that are ahead, and in its ministry through the years it will be a testimonial to a great soul whore greatest love was the Christian ministry.
His ability as a leader was recognized far beyond the confines of his own Church and in 1938 his name was incorporated with the great names of our land in the volume “Who’s Who in America.”
He was a leader of men, a man of unusual foresight and vision and generous to a fault, often distributing to the necessity of his preachers from his own resources. He absorbed the disappointments of life quietly and without murmur, and walked serenely on in the path of the just until it led to the perfect day.
|Source: Journal of the Louisiana Conference of the Methodist Church, Pages 86-87, 1943 by G. W. Pomeroy.|