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.

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