The Dean of UAlbany is also the new pastor of the church

He is the Associate Dean of Student Affairs at the University at Albany.

And he is the newly installed pastor of First Congregational Church at 405 Quail St. in Albany.

That seems like a lot of souls to heal. Pastors are on call for their congregants 24/7 and in addition to Rogers’ many student mentors, there are also children who need his friendly smile and guidance to deal with anything, from homesickness to career planning dilemmas.

“My congregation and I have talked about it and I can do it,” Rogers said confidently. “My wife and I have moved into the presbytery right next to the church.”

Built in 1917, the beautiful brick church adorned with towering white pillars and topped with a cupola is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. (The congregation was formed much earlier, in 1849). The First Congregational Church is something of a homecoming for Rogers, a Brooklyn native who graduated from UAlbany in 1985. (He also earned a master’s degree in public administration from UAlbany). In 2013 and 2014, he interned at the church while working on his master’s degree in divinity, which he earned from Payne Theological Seminary in Ohio, an HBCU (Historic Black College or University). .

On Sunday, December 12, he became the designated pastor for the 10:30 a.m. service. The congregants then celebrated with a silver tea reception (a beloved and delicious tradition for congregational churches) in the Fellowship Hall.

The congregation is vibrant and diverse and has ensured that the historic building is accessible to people with disabilities. It welcomes LGBTQ members. All of its social events are open to the public: festivals, choir concerts, cooking classes, neighborhood meetings, gardening workshops and theatrical performances. The church is involved in an incredible variety of ministries ranging from collecting and distributing coats, mittens, school supplies, linens and bedding to the needy, to outreach to people living with HIV and volunteering. with Habitat for Humanity and homeless shelters.

Rogers’ role at UAlbany has already helped his church grow the congregation.

“A young husband and a young wife that I mentored as students joined,” he said. “Another couple I mentored will soon be joining their grandchild. And I hope more will follow.”

Rogers is a member of the Phi Beta Sigma fraternity, one of the historic “Divine Nine” black fraternities and sororities. He hopes his church can organize a Greek day for local members of fraternities and sororities.

But his network of contacts, like his community leadership, extends beyond campus. He is an ordained roving elder in the African Methodist Episcopal Church within the Western New York Annual Conference. As senior pastor of St. James African Methodist Episcopal Church in Utica, he served from 2014-2018. Rogers has volunteered with the Guilderland YMCA’s Black and Latino Achievers program, the New Covenant Charter School Board, and has organized an annual fundraiser for the University at Albany Foundation.

He and his wife, Perdietha, have two adult children, Brianna and Charles Jr.

Services can be attended online or in person. For visitors who want some fresh air and conviviality on a cold winter’s day, “we have an after-service cafe community and whoever you are, you’re welcome to join in the conversation,” said said Rogers.

Jerry B. Hatch