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Canon David Rogers

01 September 2017

A correspondent writes:

THE Revd David Rogers died on 6 August, aged 69, after being dia­gnosed with an aggressive brain tumour on 1 July.

David was born in Birmingham and, apart from time at university in Bangor in the 1960s, and at West­cott House, Cambridge, in the early 1970s, spent all his working life in Worcester diocese. He served two curacies: in Worcester and in Red­ditch. He became Vicar of St Peter’s, Cradley, for 11 years from 1979 to 1990, and then moved to Beoley, Redditch, where he was Vicar for 18 years, latterly in a team ministry; Rural Dean of Bromsgrove for six years; and Team Rector of Holy Trinity, Redditch, for five. He was made an Hon. Canon of Worcester Cathedral in 2007.

David’s heart was in parish work. He loved people, and had a great ability to draw alongside the most vul­nerable in their times of need. This quality may, in part, have arisen from his own sense of vul­nerability as a gay priest — initially as a single man, but, for the past 27 years, partnered and civil-partnered with Dr David Mair, a psycho­therapist. He empathised instinct­ively with those who were on the margins: he offered compassion and hope to many who felt that life was too hard, or who were unsure they could belong in a church.

David was known for his gentle­ness and kindness, but he was also highly attuned to injustice, and wrote and spoke frequently about inconsistencies in church doctrine and practice towards LGBT people. He was the convener of the Bir­mingham caucus of the Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement for several years in the 1980s, and took on the lead post in the Worces­ter Changing Attitude group. He contributed to the recent Shared Conversations con­­­­sultation within the C of E.

David’s letters to The Guardian, the Church Times, parish news­letters, and others were always moderate in tone, but firm in con­veying his sense that the Church too frequently appeared ridiculous in its attempts to wriggle away from sensible, Christian acceptance of hu­­manity in all its variations. He be­­lieved that it was deeply unfair that LGBT clergy should be denied the legal marriage rights afforded to their parishioners, and, at the time of his death, was pondering the im­­plications of converting his civil part­nership to marriage.

David’s faith was pragmatic above all else. He did not question his faith in a loving, personal God, but sought to embody it in all he did. In recent years, he chaired the Friends of Holland House, the diocesan retreat centre near Per­shore, a place that exemplified his core personal values of inclusivity, compassion, and Christian welcome. A quiet, gentle man who loved domestic life in all its simple pleasures, David will be remem­bered as a priest who brought a sense of calm, acceptance and peace to those he encountered.

He is survived by his civil partner, David Mair, and his younger brother, Richard Rogers.

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