Black woman to be ordained priest and installed as rector for St. Francis of Assisi

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PRAIRIE VIEW, Texas – A woman is making history this month being ordained as a priest at St. Francis of Assisi Episcopal Church in Prairie View, Texas.

The Right Reverend Hector Monterosso, Bishop Assistant of the Diocese of Texas will ordain Reverend Rhonda Elwena Blackman Rogers to the sacred order of priests in Christ’s one, holy, catholic and apostolic church on Saturday, January 18 at 1 p.m. The historic event marks the first ordination of a priest in the church’s 69- year history.

Rogers was ordained a Deacon at the special ordination service at Christ Church Cathedral on June 22, 2019. She became the Deacon at St. Francis of Assisi on August 26, 2019 and preached her first sermon on September 1, 2019, with Canon Joann Saylors Canon for Mission Amplification in the Diocese of Texas celebrating the Eucharist.

Rogers, as the bi-vocational leader, provides outreach service to members and will engage in programs and activities that enhances the spiritual growth and development of the members.

In her middler year at Iona, she was assigned at St. Stephen’s, Liberty, TX for her field education experience. She is currently completing her senior field education assignment at Holy Comforter, Spring, Texas.  She was a member of Trinity Midtown after moving from Rochester, NY in 2010. She served there in various roles including Verger, LEM, Junior and Senior Warden and led Evening Prayer for the Lords of the Streets (LOTS) ministry.

Rogers is the chaplain for Union of Black Episcopal Reverend John D. Epps Chapter.  She is also a member of the Commission on Black Ministry, and the Province VII Anti-Racism Committee. She completed Education for Ministry (EFM) in 2003 and was an EFM mentor for two years.

In Rochester, NY, Rhonda was a member of Christ Church, where she served as Warden, Church School Coordinator, acolyte, sub-deacon, thurifer, and pastoral visitor. She was also a member of Standing Committee and the Anti-Racism Committee and an adjunct trainer for Congregational Development Institute in the Diocese of Rochester, NY.

Rogers prepared for her service with enrollment and graduation from the Diocese of Texas’ Iona School for Ministry on June 9, 2019. She also holds the Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering from New Jersey Institute of Technology and retired in 2016. She worked for Mobil Chemical and ExxonMobil Chemical for over 38 years in various positions including process and product development, technical advisor, and several management positions. In addition to her technical career, Rhonda led employee training for Organizational Development, Diversity and Inclusion at Mobil Chemical.

Her spiritual journey includes regularly consulting with a spiritual director and participating in retreats with the Order of St. Helena, an Episcopal order of nuns where she is an Associate.  She is also a member of Daughters of the King and United Black Episcopalians.      Reverend Rhonda has three adult children who live in Maryland and California. Her hobbies include traveling, going to the theatre, music, golf, and reading.