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St. John’s Episcopal: to discuss and decide

The Episcopal Church is based on scripture, tradition, and reason

Roger Haenke
Roger Haenke

St. John’s Episcopal Church

  • Contact: 760 1st Ave., Chula Vista 619-422-4141 www.saint-johns.org
  • Membership: 200
  • Rector: Roger Haenke
  • Age: 60
  • Born: Hastings, MN
  • Formation: Minnesota State University-Moorhead; St. Paul Seminary School of Divinity, St. Paul, MN; ordained Roman Catholic priest for the Diocese of Fargo, ND, 1991-1996; University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN; transferred priestly orders to Episcopal Church, 2017
  • Years Ordained: 31

San Diego Reader: Why did you become a priest?

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Rector Roger Haenke: God called me through other people, who recognized my gifts and they invited me to think about the possibility of ordained ministry. It happened in both the Roman Catholic and Episcopal Church. Early on, prior to becoming a Roman Catholic priest, it was my participation in the church and people in the church recognizing my gifts. After I left the Roman Catholic Church, the Episcopal Church also recognized my gifts. It has been a common theme for me — God has spoken through people inviting me into ordained ministry.

SDR: Why Episcopal?

RH: When I went to the Episcopal Church, I found a welcoming, open church. There is a polity to the church, decisions are made more from ground up, rather than within a male hierarchy from the top down. It’s a more democratic way of governing and policy-making. Part of the attraction too was the Episcopal Church’s openness to married and female clergy. Allowing for married clergy was especially important in my own case, since I am married to a man named Cliff Berkowitz. We have been married for five years. At the same time, the Episcopal Church is rooted in the fundamentals of the church. It has a history, as an offshoot of the Roman Catholic Church, but it is more progressive and open in its way of thinking. Part of the Episcopal way is that we are able to reason and enter into dialogue in order to make decisions on how the church grows. The Episcopal Church is based on scripture, tradition, and reason, so there is a whole sense of looking at these things and being able to discuss and decide on such issues as women clergy or gay marriage — all of these come about from the fact that we can discuss and decide rather than receive all our policies from the top down.

Place

St. John's Episcopal Church

760 First Avenue, Chula Vista

SDR: Where do you go when you die?

RH: I believe in the Resurrection and newness of eternal, everlasting life. I don’t know if it’s a place; I think it is a state of being, so to speak. My hope is that we will be joined with all those who have gone before us. So, we will join in this one happy communion of all of God’s saints, all of his children. I do believe there is some sort of state where we are all gathered, whole and living eternally. The Episcopal Church holds that there is a heaven and a hell. There are those who chose not to believe this. And I struggle with the concept of hell. Here’s why it’s hard for me: I don’t know what happens when one dies. We may experience someone who wants nothing to do with God, doesn’t believe in God, and may even do horrific acts while they are living, but we don’t know what happens at the moment of death. Is it possible that one can be converted in that experience of going from this life to the next? If there is a possibility of reconciliation and conversion, then does anyone go to hell? It’s a challenging thing.

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Roger Haenke
Roger Haenke

St. John’s Episcopal Church

  • Contact: 760 1st Ave., Chula Vista 619-422-4141 www.saint-johns.org
  • Membership: 200
  • Rector: Roger Haenke
  • Age: 60
  • Born: Hastings, MN
  • Formation: Minnesota State University-Moorhead; St. Paul Seminary School of Divinity, St. Paul, MN; ordained Roman Catholic priest for the Diocese of Fargo, ND, 1991-1996; University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN; transferred priestly orders to Episcopal Church, 2017
  • Years Ordained: 31

San Diego Reader: Why did you become a priest?

Sponsored
Sponsored

Rector Roger Haenke: God called me through other people, who recognized my gifts and they invited me to think about the possibility of ordained ministry. It happened in both the Roman Catholic and Episcopal Church. Early on, prior to becoming a Roman Catholic priest, it was my participation in the church and people in the church recognizing my gifts. After I left the Roman Catholic Church, the Episcopal Church also recognized my gifts. It has been a common theme for me — God has spoken through people inviting me into ordained ministry.

SDR: Why Episcopal?

RH: When I went to the Episcopal Church, I found a welcoming, open church. There is a polity to the church, decisions are made more from ground up, rather than within a male hierarchy from the top down. It’s a more democratic way of governing and policy-making. Part of the attraction too was the Episcopal Church’s openness to married and female clergy. Allowing for married clergy was especially important in my own case, since I am married to a man named Cliff Berkowitz. We have been married for five years. At the same time, the Episcopal Church is rooted in the fundamentals of the church. It has a history, as an offshoot of the Roman Catholic Church, but it is more progressive and open in its way of thinking. Part of the Episcopal way is that we are able to reason and enter into dialogue in order to make decisions on how the church grows. The Episcopal Church is based on scripture, tradition, and reason, so there is a whole sense of looking at these things and being able to discuss and decide on such issues as women clergy or gay marriage — all of these come about from the fact that we can discuss and decide rather than receive all our policies from the top down.

Place

St. John's Episcopal Church

760 First Avenue, Chula Vista

SDR: Where do you go when you die?

RH: I believe in the Resurrection and newness of eternal, everlasting life. I don’t know if it’s a place; I think it is a state of being, so to speak. My hope is that we will be joined with all those who have gone before us. So, we will join in this one happy communion of all of God’s saints, all of his children. I do believe there is some sort of state where we are all gathered, whole and living eternally. The Episcopal Church holds that there is a heaven and a hell. There are those who chose not to believe this. And I struggle with the concept of hell. Here’s why it’s hard for me: I don’t know what happens when one dies. We may experience someone who wants nothing to do with God, doesn’t believe in God, and may even do horrific acts while they are living, but we don’t know what happens at the moment of death. Is it possible that one can be converted in that experience of going from this life to the next? If there is a possibility of reconciliation and conversion, then does anyone go to hell? It’s a challenging thing.

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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