All Saints Episcopal Church calls peace-officer priest

Posted Online: Feb. 08, 2013, 8:40 am
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By Leon Lagerstam,
MOLINE -- Police work and the ministry share something in common, according to a new priest at All Saints Episcopal Church in Moline.

"It's the connection of bringing peace and hope," the Rev. Roger Hungerford said.

"The premise of police work is that we enter into chaotic, troubling situations, and we are to bring calm and peace to it," he said. "Now's the time for me to share my faith with a congregation to bring peace and hope to them."

Rev. Hungerford spent 20 years working for the Norfolk, Va., police department, before entering the priesthood. All Saints called him to become their new rector in mid-December, and he led his first worship service Sunday, Feb. 3.

He said he looked at it as a time to "share information about my life and the high points of my spiritual adventure. One of those high points, for example, was the first time I took communion."

It took a bit to actually work up the courage, Rev. Hungerford said. "But when I was up there, I felt the Holy Spirit was with me, and told God then, that 'where you lead me, I will follow.' "

That path took him first to police work, and then to ordination, said Rev. Hungerford, whograduated from Episcopal Seminary of the Southwest, in Austin, Texas, in 2009.

Rev. Hungerford was shown a profile of All Saint's Episcopal Church and is acquainted with the Rev. John Buchanan, Provisional Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Quincy. All Saints is a mission church in the diocese.

"In my calling to the priesthood, part of my studies always nudged me toward church plantings, so All Saints was something that interested me," he said.

He and the church share an enthusiasm for community outreach. "And they have a strong worship center that resounds to me," Rev. Hungerford said. "It was clear that the Holy Spirit was leading us to this mutually transforming ministry."

The church is a "stable" congregation that has been in existence for "three, going on four years," Rev. Hungerford said. "The fact it has reached the point of being able to call a full-time minister points to its vitality."

Average Sunday attendance ranges from 50 to 60 people, "and we have a total community of around 80 people," he said.

All Saints was formed in February 2009 as an initiative of a group of laypeople from Christ Church, Moline, and Trinity, Rock Island, following a diocesan split in November 2008, according to

Worship is heldin space rented from the Riverside Methodist Church's Life Center, the former Aldersgate Methodist Church, at 2420 41st St., Moline. Services are held at 9 a.m. Sunday and 7 a.m. Wednesdays.

As a mission church, All Saints has been led by the Revs. James Allemeier, Laurence Larson, and Peggy Lee, "who plan to step back and enjoy their retirements, but will continue to serve as active mentors and advisers," Rev. Hungerford said.

Rev. Allemeier once was a rector at Christ Church in Moline, while Rev. Larson once was a rector at Trinity, in Rock Island. In 2010, Rev. Leebecame the first woman to be ordained as a priest in the Quincy Episcopal Diocese. She previously was a deacon at All Saints after getting assigned to the church in 2009.

"The congregation of ASE has been very blessed," church treasurer Marsha Robison said. "First, we were blessed with two priests that came out of retirement to gather the flock and get them headed in the direction for establishing and maintaining the Episcopal Church in our community. Now we have a new blessing and that comes in the form of receiving a full-time priest, the Rev. Roger Hungerford."

The church now is in a "discernment process" to determine where and what it is being called to do and become, Rev. Hungerford said. "My prayer is that we find where we are to meet God's calling, and that we grow and strengthen as a church.

"My first impression of this church is that it is a vibrant community that works hard to maintain a presence in the Quad-Cities community," he said. "As far as the community itself, it's been very hospitable. Everyone's been so helpful and welcoming."

Rev. Roger Hungerford bio biox
Birth date: May 14, 1955
Experience: Spent eight years in the U.S. Navy; 20 years in the police department at Norfolk, Va.
Education: 1973 graduate from Leilehua, Hawaii, High School; 1978 graduate of Iowa State University; Episcopal Seminary of the Southwest, Austin Texas, in 2009
Home town: Iowa City, Iowa; lived for a while in Stanwood and Mechanicsville, both in Iowa; and spent a lot of his youth in Leavenworth, Kan., where his father worked as a civil servant with the military.
Family: wife, Liz
Favorite Biblical character I'd like to meet: Gideon
I wish I knew how to: skydive


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