The Profiler: The Rev. Roger Bauer

The Profiler: The Rev. Roger Bauer

Suzanne Vinson
The Rev. Roger Bauer

The Rev. Roger Bauer and band mate Jim Franz. Photo courtesy of the Rev. Roger Bauer.

For those who have had the pleasure of knowing him, this will forever ring true: The Rev. Roger Bauer is a man you won't forget. Yes, there’s the motorcycle; the long hair; and the Native American jewelry, earring and nose ring. Take even a fleeting amount of time to chat with Bauer and you might be drawn in by his wide grasp of useless historical facts, his boisterous laugh, or his ability to listen openly and hold a highly intelligent conversation. (This is certainly what I will remember after our two-hour lunch.)

But when Bauer walked in the door, my first impression upon observing him being greeted by the restaurant’s wait staff and several people dining around me was this: I thought he'd be taller. Because I heard such heartfelt and passionate descriptions of a kind, generous, intelligent, energetic, and giving man that I expected someone at least seven feet tall.

After more than three decades in Alameda, the Rev. Bauer is going back home. The longtime pastor of Immanuel Lutheran Church, which he led until 2009, will shepherd a new congregation at Hope Lutheran Church in Rhodes, Michigan.

Friends are holding a going-away party for Bauer from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. today at Pier 29 Restaurant, 1148 Ballena Boulevard. It’s open to the public.

The Rev. Bauer is a man of faith in not just God, but in people. As a chaplain he has provided counsel, hope and healing to people of many different faiths with the Alameda Police Department, the Chaplain's Group of Alameda and the Alameda Ministerial Association, as well his own congregation. He was on the board of Alameda Point Collaborative when it was barely budding and started organizations such as Alamedans With Hope and the Alameda Services Collaborative.

In 1970, his plan was to attend Concordia Seminary in St. Louis, Missouri. But when the majority of the seminary’s faculty and students walked out and formed Concordia Seminary in Exile-Seminex, the seeds of holy rebellion were sown in Bauer – producing a unique blend of open wildness, intellectual curiosity, humble service and strong faith.

Bauer came to Alameda in 1980, and he served Immanuel Lutheran for 29 years. In 2009 he founded his own Many Hats Ministry, through which he officiates weddings, baptisms and funerals, and offers counseling. The ministry also features Bauer’s band, Roknrev and the Deacons.

Music has been an integral part of the Rev. Bauer's life for decades and has been key to how he brings people together. As a young boy in Michigan playing the accordion until his fingers “got tired of pushing the frickin' buttons on that thing,” hosting weekly music events in his church, playing in dozens of bands, to shamelessly name-dropping in interviews, the Rev. Bauer is a man that was born at the right time and place.

His stories of ministering to red-eyed, salty sailors at the Port of Oakland – Bauer has served as chaplain at Oakland’s International Maritime Center since 2011 – bring to mind treacherous seas and tortured souls searching for the familiar face of home.

Hope Lutheran’s congregation asked Bauer to come tend to them, and eventually, with the same spirit of adventure that brought him to Alameda, he said yes. He’ll be officially installed on December 7.

In addition to ministering to a new congregation, Bauer said he’ll be contemplating a garden, horses, and spending time with his father and hometown friends.

While he’s not enthusiastic about packing, sorting and moving, he said he’s excited about this new chapter in his life. But he added that he’s not closing the book on Alameda for good.

“Oh, I'm coming back,” Bauer said. “I'm leaving one of my motorcycles here.”


Al Wright's picture
Submitted by Al Wright on Mon, Oct 20, 2014

Roger's laughter can, and does-always- fill the room! Alameda will miss you, my friend.

Submitted by June Ogden (not verified) on Mon, Oct 20, 2014

Roger never met a person he does not like. You feel like he his your friend at once. Love the spirit he brings when you are in his company. Roger, you will be missed but never forgotten. God Bless you in this new chapter of your life.

Submitted by CHARLOTTE A TLACHAC (not verified) on Mon, Oct 20, 2014

Roger was THE BEST Santa ever when Soroptimists 'adopted' some families for the holidays. He had his own plush suit(of course) the REAL beard and long hair, and came into the neighborhood on his motorcycle, sleigh bells aringing. We sang songs, handed out gifts and spread a lot of sunshine that day, thanks to him.
He'll be missed on so many levels. Good luck to you in the Midwest.


Submitted by Rev. Laura Rose (not verified) on Mon, Oct 20, 2014

Bless you dear one... we will surely miss you! Thank you for all that you have been to this town.

Submitted by Erin Gilchrist-Brown (not verified) on Mon, Oct 20, 2014

The Rockin' Rev married us almost 24 years ago and he is our lucky charm. While I will miss just running into his smiling face around Alameda, I am thrilled he gets to go back to his hometown. Roger is a true treasure, all my best to you, our friend.

Submitted by Suzanne Lindsey (not verified) on Mon, Oct 20, 2014

Calm seas and fair winds. Rodger, may the road rise to meet ye.
You'll always have our heart.

Submitted by Joni Reynolds (not verified) on Mon, Oct 20, 2014

My memories of the rev will be of the years he spent coaching football at AHS. No matter how much time passed between running into each other around town, it was as tho not a day had gone by! I will always appreciate the way he made me feel as tho I was the only person in the room who mattered when we spoke!! Best of luck to you as you begin the next phase of your adventure, Coach!! Xo

Jon Spangler's picture
Submitted by Jon Spangler on Tue, Oct 21, 2014

Dearest Roger,

Thank you for enriching Alameda with your love, laughter, and wisdom. May the wind always be at your back, wherever you ride. Keep the rubber side down and the leather side up, OK?


Submitted by Laurel Yeates (not verified) on Tue, Oct 21, 2014

Oh Roger! I had no idea! You popped into my head today because, after sharing so many life transitions with you, I was thinking, "I have to tell him that John and I are going to be grandparents again!" Our Tarrin is having a baby boy in February. So, so happy that you are a major thread in the fabric of John's and my marriage, from performing our wedding ceremony - just the 3 of us on a Saturday morning! - to the blessing of my new wedding ring after I lost the original. And all over good Speisekammer beer. We love you and will look for your return, even if just for a visit! Travel safe and button up your overcoat. You ain't gonna be havin' California winters there!

Submitted by Lori Raushi (not verified) on Thu, Oct 23, 2014

Hello all, you don't know me but I am partly to blame for Roger leaving all of you. I am the Call Committee Chair person at Hope Lutheran Church where Roger will be moving to. What amazing memories and stories you have with Roger, we are truly blessed to have him come to our community and be our new pastor. I am so looking forward to having him be a part of our lives here in Rhodes. I really believe that God has had a hand in us finding each other and filling the needs that we both have, Roger being closer to his dad and us needing another shepherd to lead us. We as a congregation will make Roger feel at home here in Rhodes and try to keep him warm during our predicted very cold and snowy winter. Bless you all.

Submitted by Woolie (not verified) on Wed, Oct 29, 2014

Hey RB, Peace and Happy Journeys. Yours Truly Daniel B, Jack

Submitted by Consuelo (not verified) on Tue, Dec 30, 2014

Rockin Rev, glad you are back home with Dad, and company. It's been a long year since your mom went to Heaven, and we wish you blessings, health, good fortune, continued laughter and good riding weather, thinking of you very often. Prayer wheel is spinning amigo.