Rory Rodgers reflects on the past two years serving the hard working people of Paulina

PHOTO SUBMITTED BY RORY RODGERS - Members of the Calvary Chapel congregation gather for a photo in front of the church on a sunny spring Sunday. The building, which is nearly 100 years old, was moved from Rager Ranger Station in the 1960s. It was originally a schoolhouse.

It is evident when talking at any length to Rory Rodgers that he has a heart for his ministry and the people that he serves, whether that is Prineville or Paulina.

It will be two years ago this July that Rodgers and his family took over the reins of the Paulina ministry, previously led by Travis Hale within Faith Ministries.  

Calvary Chapel Paulina utilizes the Paulina Chapel, just off of the Paulina City Road as one approaches the small community. The building, which is nearly 100 years old, was moved from Rager Ranger Station in the 1960s.

Services are at 4 p.m. each Sunday, giving ranchers time to take care of chores, come out from gathering cows in the mountains, or on a rare occasion, getting a little Sunday down time while the Prineville team has just enough time to take care of the service in town, eat some lunch and make the hour drive.

Rodgers also pastors Calvary Chapel Prineville. He has a background growing up on a ranch and has a heart to minister to ranchers. He and his family have often assisted the various ranchers in the Paulina community working cattle, branding and similar tasks.

"The more time that we spent out there with those ranchers, we started getting to do some ministry to them from day to day. It started giving us the idea of helping out with the church out there," said Rodgers of the beginning of his ministry in Paulina.

His sister-in-law was part of the business that put on the LRS Country Music Festival in Paulina. Rodgers was subsequently asked in 2017 and 2019 to do a Sunday service during the festival.

"That also started a little bit of the preaching role out in the Paulina area and introduced me to some more of the locals out there. It put more and more on my heart, and my friends' heart out there, that we would just love to help minister to that community," he went on to say.

Rodgers contacted Hale about possibly rotating weeks with him in the ministry. The timing happened to be just right, and Rodgers was met with an enthusiastic response.

"He said it was the perfect timing, because they were looking to go a different direction in life, and he would love to hand over the ministry for that area to our church and to me."

In a few weeks, he was taking over the ministry full time, with every Sunday at 4 p.m. since they began in July 2019.

"I continue to this day working out there, and it is a neat time to spend time with people in the area," stated Rodgers. "A lot of them come to the church or at least attend some of our special functions."

They have had a couple of Christmas services, including a Christmas bonfire with a beverage bar this past year. They have also conducted the rodeo service during Paulina Rodeo, with a pancake feed and breakfast at the Pau Mau Community Hall.

"It's been a really neat blessing. For one thing, I grew up on a ranch, and so I know when you are taking care of your property or taking care of your animals—it's hard to pull away to get to church sometimes, let alone if you live an hour away from town. It's always been a calling in my life to help that, or at least meet people half-way if they are willing to try and make an effort," said Rodgers.

He has a heart to help the Paulina people seek the Lord.

"It has been such a blessing to meet so many of these people, and it is almost a whole different culture of people who live out there. Hard working and strong people, and it has been a blessing to get to know them, and they have worked their way into my heart, and I have worked my way into their heart. When you are serving people and helping them, there is a neat blessing in that."

Each day that he is there, Rodgers meets new people and makes connections. He said he is always looking for ways to help the community more. This year, the pancake feed during the Paulina Rodeo made it possible to provide repairs on the Pau Mau Community Hall and to purchase a new oven.

"It's neat to be building friendships and being there for people if they are hurting or if they need anything, to represent the Lord to them in that way," he concluded. "As you drive out to Paulina, you know all the different ranches along the way and you pray for all the different people that you have met, and if you are aware of any hurts or needs that they have, you can reach out and help them. There is a lot of joy in doing that."

You count on us to stay informed and we depend on you to fund our efforts. Quality local journalism takes time and money. Please support us to protect the future of community journalism.

Have a thought or opinion on the news of the day? Get on your soapbox and share your opinions with the world. Send us a Letter to the Editor!