Real Change Becomes a Reality

We are so very proud to announce that one of our favorite supporters, volunteers, and yes, a former Saint John’s client, Pastor Olliver Jean Rogers, earned her Doctor of Philosophy in Christian Counseling from the Pacific Northwest Seminary on September 20th! Way to go Dr. Rogers!

Dr. Olliver Jean Rogers

Olliver earned her pastoral ministry from the Church of Transformation in Leesville, Louisiana in 2008 after 11 years of sobriety from a debilitating cocaine addiction. Shortly thereafter, she found herself homeless in Sacramento, after travelling here to rescue her grandchildren who had been taken from her addicted daughter by CPS. While her grandchildren were in her custody, she was suffering from the mental and physical abuse of her husband, who had relapsed into his addiction. That situation, combined with the concurrent addictions of her daughter, niece and great niece, caused her to “throw in the towel” and relapse into cocaine addiction herself. After about a year on the streets, she entered Saint John’s, and put a halt to her downward spiral once and for all.

“Here I was, a preacher, and I had let down my family and most especially, my grandchildren” lamented Olliver. “Sometimes we beat ourselves up, when we should be lifting ourselves up.”

During her six months at Saint John’s in 2009, and in her unique position as an ordained pastoral minister, she became a spiritual leader and an inspiration to the other clients and their children, forming lifelong friendships and discovering a new “family” of sisters. Upon her departure from the program, she earned both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Theology from the Sacramento Theological Seminary (marking six years of study), then studied for two more years to earn her PhD from Pacific Northwestern Seminary. Last year, she received a pastoral appointment with AME Zion church – the Peculiar Children of God – located off Arden Way, and they are now in the process of purchasing a church for her ministry, which she hopes will be up and running by next year.

Olliver was one of the first clients to participate in Saint John’s Employment Training Program at Plates Café and Catering, which opened for business on her 50th birthday in 2010, and she and was honored as Saint John’s second “Mother of the Year” at the annual fundraising event in May of 2010. We are bursting our buttons with pride for Dr. Rogers!

Blog by Sue Cawdrey
Grants & Communications Manager
Saint John’s Program for Real Change

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