Remembering Rod

As delegates submitted nominations for Judicial Council last evening, I remembered when Rod Wilmoth, a pastor who served Hennepin Ave. UMC, a mega church in Minneapolis, asked me to help write his 100-word biography that had to be submitted to the DCA prior to the election.

“Should I say that I’m a progressive?” asked Rod, who was a classmate of mine at Iliff School of Theology. “I can’t give you any advice on that,” I responded. “You may gain some votes, but you will lose others.”

Rod decided to add that he was a progressive.

When the DCAs arrived in the morning, bishops who nominated Rod for the council said they were disappointed by Rod’s declaration.

Rod was elected as an alternate to the council.

I didn’t see Rod after the election.

A few months later, I received the devastating news that Rod committed suicide.

The act didn’t make sense to me then and it doesn’t make sense today. He was a highly respected pastor and he always had a smile on his face.

I know his act of self-destruction had nothing to do with the Judicial Council election, but it does make me wonder if I should have showed more interest in Rod than in his 100 word biography. That 100-word bio is now a part of history, but it does not tell the real story of Rod.

Only when we meet again somewhere beyond this planet will I know more about this man of faith who brought many people to Jesus Christ. I still wonder about the hidden demons that were troubling Rod and whether I might have done something to help exorcise them.

Latest News

General Church
Darryl W. Stephens is director of United Methodist studies at Lancaster Theological Seminary and a clergy member of the Texas Conference. Photo courtesy of Lancaster Theological Seminary.

Commentary: A simple majority is a foundation of sand

A simple majority vote at General Conference provides an unstable basis for denominational unity.
General Conference
Nativity set from Peru, photographed at the Upper Room Museum in Nashville, Tenn. Photo by Mike DuBose, United Methodist Communications.

Ask The UMC: Does Christmas have roots in pagan beliefs?

A look at the long history of celebrating Christmas on December 25 and how the early church arrived at that date.
Theology and Education
Colette Ndobe  Photo by Ndobe Ebeneza Mosima.

Commentary: The power of pencils in Cameroon

United Methodist Women in Cameroon reach out to rural school students with much-needed school supplies as part of the One Child, One Pencil Project.

Sign up for our newsletter!

SUBSCRIBE