Mary Rodgers-Weaver Named to be Next Southwest District Superintendent
Rodgers-Weaver grew up in Mason City, a small farming community in rural central Illinois. She went to college at MacMurray College, a Methodist college in Jacksonville, Illinois, for three years before transferring to Chicago Medical School, where she earned her bachelor’s degree in physical therapy.
Her family lived in South Bend, Indiana, for four years before moving to Creve Coeur. There she became a member of Green Trails UMC in Chesterfield and became increasingly involved in the church through choir, bells, and mission trips to Caruthersville for disaster response. When she was asked to lead a mission trip to Mozambique, things started getting serious. Soon after she returned the church created a new position, Director of Mission and Service. She applied for and got the job. While in that position it transitioned to be the Director of Family Ministries.
The pastors at the church, Rev. Nate Berneking and Rev. Beth Freeman, urged Rodgers-Weaver to consider if she was being called to pastoral ministry, but it really hit home for her when they were both away at Annual Conference and she was asked to preach that Sunday.
“I didn’t tell anyone at the time, but I loved it,” she said.
After that sermon, people in the church started asking her about becoming a pastor. But as a single mother of two young girls, she didn’t see how it would work. But she found herself in a prayer service in the church, with two women praying over her. The next day she applied to seminary. Soon she was accepted, and received a full-ride scholarship to Candler, with the next steps being selling her house and moving to Atlanta.
She loved seminary and in three years earned her Master of Divinity. Her first pastoral appointment back in Missouri was as associate pastor at Liberty UMC. It was there that she experienced firsthand how during its darkest hour, a church can truly function at its best. The senior pastor, Rev. Allen Zugelter, became seriously ill and fought a disease that eventually took his life. Through it, Rodgers-Weaver served as the interim lead pastor for several months.
“The church really formed a community that bonded together,” she said. “I’ll be forever grateful for all the encouragement and support they gave through that tragic time.”
Her next appointment also had its special challenges, as she was appointed to be senior pastor of Concord Trinity UMC in St. Louis is July of 2020 – right as the pandemic was in full force.
“It was a really rough time, but we were all going through it together, and the church was great,” she said.
Her most recent call from the Bishop’s office left her “flabbergasted.” Even as announcements were being made, she was still questioning if the Bishop and cabinet were really sure they wanted her for the next superintendent of the Southwest District. She is still shocked, but excited to meet the new challenges before her in a new role.
“It’s a beautiful part of the state,” she said. “After serving three suburban churches, I’m looking forward to the opportunity to work in some more rural areas and get back to my roots.”
Rodgers-Weaver’s two daughters are currently in college at the University of Missouri-Columbia and Truman State University.