St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Claremore will mark a transition in clergy leadership on Sunday, Dec. 6, according to a media release. The Rev. Canon William Martin (“Father Bill”) will succeed Father Larry S. Rogers after his five, highly successful years at St. Paul’s. The church’s top lay leader, Dr. Paul B. Hatley, says, “Fr. Larry has served us well since his arrival in 2015. He will be missed greatly but we must put our personal feelings aside and acquiesce to the call of the Holy Spirit”.
Father Larry will become vicar at St. Basil’s Episcopal Church in Tahlequah, nearby his home. Father Bill will be coming out of retirement to lead St. Paul’s. He holds a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from Princeton University, an MBA from SMU, and a Master’s in Divinity from Seabury-Western Seminary in the Chicago area. In his late 40s, Father Bill left the corporate world as president and chief operating officer of a gas utility company serving most of north and west Arkansas, and southeast Missouri, and having been mayor of Fayetteville, Arkansas, to go to seminary.
After his ordination, Father Bill served as a parish priest, head of a boarding and day school, and a diocesan official in Colorado. When he retired four years ago at age 72 as vicar of St. Martin’s in Pryor, he began teaching fundamentals of technology, psychology/sociology, and debate at McLain High School in north Tulsa. He continued his priestly vocation on weekends as a supply, or substitute, minister in Sapulpa, Ponca City, and Tahlequah.
Father Bill, who lives with Carole, his wife of 54 years, at Lake Hudson east of Pryor, says, “I’m elated to serve St. Paul’s — a healthy congregation with a tremendous future.”
St. Paul’s is located on Sioux Avenue, near the SE corner of East Blue Starr Road and North Sioux Avenue. Sunday service is at 9:30 a.m., ecclesiastically distanced with masks required. Everyone is welcome to experience the rich worship traditions and teachings of the Episcopal Church.