In Memoriam: John Rogerson (1935-2018)

The ‘actual’ anniversary of Martin Luther’s 95 theses was marked in Sheffield in a variety of ways. One of these was a Lutheran-style service at Beauchief Abbey, the remains of a medieval monastic establishment a couple of miles to the south of Sheffield city centre. The service was presided over by the Reverend Professor John Rogerson, who was Professor of Biblical Studies at the University of Sheffield prior to his retirement in 1996.

Today, 28 September 2018, people gather at another Sheffield church for a service of Thanksgiving for John Rogerson’s life. To mark this occasion, what follows are extracts from a longer obituary published in the Church Times. Father Geoffrey Bottoms writes:


THE Revd Professor John William Rogerson was a scholar and a priest whose personal charisma and innumerable gifts touched the hearts and minds of all who were privileged to know him.

He was no cradle Christian, having been drawn to faith in adult life by the concept of the Kingdom of God, which subsequently became the life-long subject of his enquiring mind and incisive intellect. He called it “the Kingdom of right relationships”, and it embraced all aspects of human life from the social, economic, and industrial to the artistic, intellectual, and aesthetic. To be a Christian, therefore, involved accepting the call to embrace and be inspired by this vision that engages both our intelligence and our experiences.

. . .

[N]o one could underestimate [John’s] admiration for the German Lutheran Church, which he knew and experienced from attending and taking services on his frequent visits, and leading residential summer academies for German theological students. As far as he was concerned, the profundity of the preaching, the quality of students who were training for ministry, and the seriousness with which the Church was taken in the public sphere were enough to put much of British church life to shame. He attributed this to the dialectical theology of Martin Luther, which took account of the contradictory nature of reality as we experience it.


Read the obituary in full on the Church Times website.

The service of Thanksgiving takes place at 1:30pm at St Mark’s Church, Broomhill, Sheffield, S10 2SE.


Image: photograph of Beauchief Abbey, taken 29 October 2017 by Iona Hine.

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