Saturday, April 11, 2009

This Week in Texas Methodist History April 12

Jose Policarpo Rodriguez Licensed to Preach April 14, 1877

The life of Jose Policarpo Rodriguez is so full of romance and adventure that it would make an exciting motion picture. “Polly” was born in Zaragoza, Mexico, in 1829. His family moved to San Antonio.. In 1849 Rodriguez signed on as scout for the expedition that was surveying the route between El Paso and San Antonio. His outstanding service on that expedition led to further scouting for the U. S. Army. In 1858 he bought a ranch in Bandera County.

Several months after his conversion to Methodism, he attended a quarterly conference at a private residence in Bandera. Although not yet a member of the Methodist Church, he asked for a license to preach. Rev. J. C. Walker, the presiding elder, asked, “Why, aren’t you the man who spends his time around the barrooms drinking and gambling? What do you want with a license to preach?”

Rodriguez replied, “I used to do that, but I have quit now.”

Walker asked Rodriguez to wait outside while the conference considered his request. It was granted, and he started his career as a Methodist preacher. In the fall of 1878 he was admitted on trial in the West Texas Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church South. The following year, Bishop Pierce ordained Policarpo Rodriguez a deacon. In due course he received his elder’s orders from Bishop Parker at Seguin.

Among his other accomplishments was building a church on his ranch. After he died in Poteet in 1914, he was buried near there at “Polly’s Chapel.”..


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