For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven…a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance….
Ecclesiastes 3:1, 4
As the life of our community has been moving rapidly through our 125th anniversary year, my admiration for the work and dedication of Trinity’s early rectors has continued to deepen. During the first 20 years of its life, Trinity saw 16 rectors come and go, but the Rev. Edgar Rogers broke this pattern of short tenures by serving as rector from 1911 to 1941.
Mary Wheeler, who shared memories of Fr. “Pop” Rogers, attended Trinity from 1929 until her death on December 21, 2015. When Trinity’s carillon bells were installed in 2008, Mary was happy Trinity had its bells back and said they were a fitting honor for Fr. Rogers. Along with other Trinity parishioners (including Alicia Prater), Mary learned the waltz, polka and square dance steps from the dedicated clergyman.
“I grew up with Father Rogers,” said Mary. “He lived at the church rectory parish, he didn’t own a car, but walked everywhere. He hired a teacher and used a wind-up Victrola for the music.” She additionally remembered that, “Rogers was short, sometimes had holes in his shoes, and he always wore his collar.”
The Rev. Edgar Martin Rogers was born at Jersey City Heights, New Jersey, August 19, 1874, a son of William Edgar and Jennie Lois (Martin) Rogers. His father was a well-known lawyer in New York and New Jersey, where he provided counsel to railway interests and also had a large private practice. His mother died in 1874 at the age of twenty-four years, leaving two children, when Fr. Rogers was only eight days old.
In his boyhood, Fr. Rogers attended schools in Huntington. New York and
Washington, D. C. He later entered the Phillips Exeter Academy of New Hampshire before becoming a student in Trinity College at Hartford, Connecticut, where he graduated in 1902. For three years he was a student in the Berkeley Divinity School at Middletown, Connecticut before being ordained to the ministry of The Episcopal Church and assigned to duty as assistant rector of Trinity church at Washington. D. C. He served there from 1905 until 1907, when he became connected with the work in the west.
On his arrival in Washington State, Fr. Rogers He was initially stationed at Port Angeles, Washington. For a brief time, he served as the assistant rector of Trinity church in Seattle and afterward went to the Imperial Valley in southern California, having charge of a church there for a year and a half. He then returned to Washington State, moving to Everett, where he began his service as Rector of Trinity Episcopal Church in September of 1911.
On the 8th of July, 1909, Fr. Rogers was married to Mary Justina Lupen, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Conrad Lupen, natives of Illinois who had become residents of Port Angeles, Washington. Edgar and Mary Rogers became the parents of a son, John Lupen, born in Everett in 1911, shortly after Fr. Rogers’ arrival at Trinity.
During his lifetime of ministry, Fr. Rogers was a driving force behind the creation and building of Trinity’s current sanctuary. Though the cornerstone for the sanctuary was laid down in 1914, the beginning of WWI halted the building project as laborers and parishioners left to serve in the armed forces. When the sanctuary was completed in 1921, the new church was dedicated as a Victory Memorial to the citizens of Snohomish County who had fought and died in WWI, in service of their community and country.
On Saturday, May 20th, Trinity will hold a fundraising dinner and auction with the theme – “Celebrating the Roaring 20’s!” This event is intended as an homage to the time following the Great War when communities and churches across the nation gradually turned away from the sorrow and loss of war and began to look towards the future with a renewed sense of hope and possibility. Fr. Rogers’ love and appreciation of dancing was in true keeping with the time, and I believe that he would be overjoyed to know that young flappers, ladies and gentlemen will once again be celebrating our history and heritage at Trinity through dance and coming together as a community of joy and celebration.
I believe that all the life energies of parishioners and ministers who helped bring Trinity into being will be dancing with us. I hope that you can join us in dance and celebration on May 20th as we honor our legacy and the commitment of all who have come before us that have made our faith community possible, for us to enjoy and celebrate in our day.
In Christ’s Peace,
The Rev. Rachel K. Taber-Hamilton, Rector