By Kathy Brown.
Zoom interview. Online worship. That is how Martha Rogers entered the Killingworth community by becoming the Priest-in-Charge at Emmanuel Episcopal Church during a pandemic.
“It was quite a different experience than I have ever had in my 24 years as an Episcopal Priest,” Martha said. She began online worship in April 2021, but did not meet any of her parishioners in person until in-person services returned to the church in July. The pandemic was not the “welcome to CT” gift she expected.
Martha is a New Englander at heart. She grew up in Warren, RI, but then moved to the Midwest to begin her career in education after graduating from Rhode Island College. She was in the special education field for approximately 18 years, primarily as a Home Interventionist for families with infants and preschoolers with handicapping conditions. After becoming ordained, Martha was the Vicar for a storefront church in Colorado, a Canon at the Episcopal Cathedral in South Dakota, a Rector of two churches in Iowa, and more.
“It is both a joy and a blessing to have been among, and with, God’s people in each congregation,” said Martha.
Now she has moved to Connecticut from Iowa, finding herself “back near the ocean I so dearly missed,” explained Martha. “I’m back in New England!!!”
Martha is a trained, certified Spiritual Director, meeting on an individual basis with people as they explore their relationship with God in the busy-ness of everyday life. Her energy and delight are obvious when she talks about now being part of the faithful members of Emmanuel.
Emmanuel Episcopal Church has the nickname of being called “The Little Church in the Wilderness.” The church is listed on the Federal Register of Historic Places and could be considered one of Connecticut’s oldest houses of worship.
The church, located off Route 148, was organized on July 10, 1800, by 19 residents of North Madison and two residents of Killingworth (more on the history of the church can be found HERE). Currently their worship services are held every Sunday at 10:00 a.m. Visitors are always welcome.
Martha and her husband Dave have been married for 39 years, and have two children, Kevin and Katrina. Though Katrina and her family live in Nevada, her son Kevin and his family live in Essex. Dave and Martha have four grandchildren. “Caring for [the grandchildren] each week during the pandemic made the move from Iowa worth it,” said Martha. They also have two rescue parrots who keep their home “energized” as they are very talkative.
Martha and her husband volunteer at the New London Food Bank. Martha also facilitates on-line grief support groups sponsored by the Brian Dagle Foundation of Niantic. Painting and yarn work fill Martha’s spare time.
Rev. Rogers is eager to meet the residents of Killingworth and become active within the community. If you can’t get hold of her, she may be at the shoreline “enjoying all that the Connecticut coast has to offer.”