ISLE OF WIGHT, Va. (WAVY)- An Isle of Wight pastor is retiring after preaching from the pulpit for nearly 50 years.
Dr. Robert Rodgers has been the lead minister at Pulaski Baptist Church in Carrsville since 1971.
“It’s been a sense of joy and satisfaction that I have been obedient to the calling and I have been able to serve in that community for the length of time,” Rodgers said Friday at his home in Chesapeake.
Rodgers, who is 85 years old, took over the position in March 1971 after his father, who was the pastor, died in January of that year.
“Forty-eight years and nine months — I’ve been keeping count,” he said.
Rodgers says his faithfulness to his calling, determination and upbringing allowed him to continue for so long.
“My dad was a minister. His dad was a minister. I’m the third generation of ministers in that family. All of that combined helps you to remain faithful and not try something else,” he said.
Rodgers gave his last sermon on Dec. 29 and says he told the congregation about his path to become a pastor.
He’s learned a lot in nearly 50 years of service.
“I’ve learned a lot about people. I’ve learned a great deal about how to minister to them, how to encourage them, to let them know there is a way that God has ordained for them and there’s a purpose in life for them. Their spiritual well-being is one of the most important factors because as Christian believers, we believe there is another place the Lord has gone to prepare for us and it is our desire to strive to go to where He is when He call us,” he said.
Rodgers tells 10 On Your Side his work has been enjoyable, but if he could go back and do it over again, he would do a better job.
On Saturday, Jan. 4, the congregation will hold a reception to send off their beloved minister. Rodgers says he will miss his “spiritual” family but will still be around to counsel those who need it.
“It’s not goodbye. It’s just discontinuing from the pastorate, but never from the preaching — never from the preaching,” he said.