About Larry

I am Larry Gilbert Rogers, the first born son of Gilbert George and Beulah Dorothy (Ehlers) Rogers, born at 9:00 am, the morning of the 16th day of April 1943, in a farm house on a mud road named Cherry Street.  It had been raining, the doctor could not get out to the house, and so my Grandmother Ehlers acted as midwife at my birth. The doctor was able to get there in the afternoon and signed my birth certificate, which I still have.

 
On the 1st of May 1943, at two weeks of age, I was taken to Creston Memorial Hospital in critical condition. On 3 of May 1943, the Rev. George A. W. Vogel baptized me, as it was believe I was at death’s door.  I believe now I had a near death experience in which I was told to return to life, to be a homosexual, never marry, I was to minister to people like me, and I would have a long successful lifetime of service.  (It is only recently that some of these memories have revealed themselves.)
 
I was in the hospital four days and returned home to be bottle-fed, as I was allergic to my mother’s milk. At age 3 my first memory of my near death experience lead me to tell people I was to minister. Unfortunately my family thought I said I was to be a Minister and for the next sixty some years I kept pursuing that profession.
 
On 4th of April 1952, I ceased to be an only child with the arrival of my brother Paul, followed 15 months later by Stephen, and 19 months later by Stanley. Suddenly I had three baby brothers, into all my things, none that were old enough to be friends with. I was their babysitter. It would take many years for our friendships to develop.
 
In 1958, as I knelt at the altar for Confirmation in the Lutheran Church, Missouri Synod, the Rev. George A.W. Vogel laid his hand on my head and I felt fire flow though my body and I received the Baptism of the Holy Spirit and gifts began to be activated. I tried attending High School training for Pre-Ministers and almost flunked out of High School. Graduated from College, applied to the Seminary of the Missouri Synod and was turned down. Worked in Social Work, Administrator of Federal Food Stamp program in Quincy, Illinois, then in Chicago, Illinois and was turned down for Seminary again.
 
Finally, I enrolled in a Lay Ministry Training Center at North Heights Lutheran Church ELCA in Roseville, Minnesota. It was there that I was outed as being gay, which I had been all my life, as far as I was concerned, it was part of my calling by God as he had told me that I was to minister to others like me. However the Dean of Students told me I could not be gay and Christian so I had to quit being gay by attending Exodus Sessions if I wanted to continue to train at the LMTC. So off to Exodus I went to learn to be ex-gay. Of course, I was still gay; I was just pretending to be ex-gay.
 
At the end of two years of training, I received my certificate of Lay Ministry and was eligible to be called to a Charismatic Lutheran Church since North Heights had broken away from the ELCA and were independent now. Graduating meant I had to leave the LMTC residence, so I moved in for the summer with a leader of the church while I looked for work.
 
One day, as I drove from St. Paul to Hopkins, Minnesota, to apply for a job, the Lord spoke to me as I passed a church “Here is where you will worship for many years”, a bit further I passed a motel and he Lord spoke again “Here is where you will live for several years”, and as I drove up to the building where I had the interview “Here is where you will work.” I went into the interview, was hired, and told I could start the next Monday. I asked about housing and was told to try the motel as they rented rooms on a monthly basis. I moved in that weekend. Meanwhile I continued to drive 21 miles (half an hour) each way to worship on Sunday Mornings.
One morning I was running late, so I stopped at that church that God had said I would worship at and found it was a Missouri Synod Lutheran Church. I just knew that God had made a mistake but I went in, late enough that the pastor was just giving the sermon “Using the Gifts of the Holy Spirit”.  
 
God had NOT made a mistake. I joined, became active, lead Saturday night worship services, became a Stephen Minister, and ministered as a lay minister. I earned my daily bread at Bratrude, Inc, for two years, and then worked for Fingerhut as a phone representative, then worked at Redeemer ELCA Lutheran Church as Office Manager for two years, then Walter’s Studios. Then the Senior Pastor at the Hopkins Lutheran Church retired and the new Senior Pastor was old school and I knew it was time to move.
 
I moved to Golden Valley Missouri Synod Lutheran Church for two years but never felt at home. Meanwhile, my father was killed in a car accident, Walter’s closed, and I asked the Lord, what now? God told me to change to the Church where I had worked, Redeemer ELCA. So I went to a service, the pastor asked if I was going to join, I told him I wanted to minister to homosexuals. (Remember, I was still pretending to be Ex-gay at this point). The Pastor said “Great, we have been wanting to start a ministry for homosexuals, we can use you. Are you going to PRIDE this afternoon?” The Lord had brought me to a church that had been converted to Reconciling in Christ. I joined, after all, I knew most of the people, having worked there as office manager, started going to Reconciling meetings, and became Ex-Ex-Gay.
 
I will not bore you with details of my lay ministry service at Redeemer nor of my various jobs I had, but in 2010 at age 67, I lost my job again and could not find work. In April 2011 my brother, Paul, suggested that I return to Iowa to be closer to the family who had all moved to the Iowa City/Cedar Rapids area. Mother’s Day weekend, I drove down to Paul’s and the next day, he, Susan, and I went to look at available housing. The first place we did not like so we went on to Ecumenical Towers. I fell in love with the apartment, the location, then found a copy of the Center Guide and learned there was a monthly LGBT movie shown there. I felt God was calling me home. But they had no vacancies but I could be put on a list with no promises that an apartment would open up. I applied and went home to Minneapolis, Minnesota.
 
End of July 2011, I received a call, did I still want an apartment? They knew I wanted to give 30 days notice so they would plan on me moving in September 1, 2011, or soon thereafter. I called my brothers. Paul and Stephen agreed to borrow Stanley’s pickup even though Stanley would be working, come up and move me down to Iowa City. They arrived and while I thought I had been packing, they took over and finished the job for me.
 
We got to Iowa City, only to learn the new apartment was not ready yet, so I stayed with Paul and Susan, once again for a week. Finally moved in to may new apartment, joined he Senior Center, and attended a LGBT Movie for a couple months. Then Elsie, the coordinator of the LGBT Movie Series became sick and was about to give it up. I asked if I could take it over. For three months, I showed the movies Elsie had planned; then was allowed to take over when Elsie said she was not coming back except to maybe attend (which she does).
 
2012 to the present, I have been coordinator of the LGBT Movie Series, which is now evolving into a new series of movies, the Friday Afternoon Movie Series, a mixture of Gay and Straight movies. On the 13th of April 2017, I was elected the Vice Chairman of the Steering Council of the Iowa City/Johnson County Senior Center, to take office in July 2017 for one year as Vice Chair, then a year as Chair, then a final year as past Chair, a three-year term. And now I am a part of Friends.

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