September 4: Paul Jones, 1941

Welcome to the Holy Women, Holy Men blog! We invite you to read about this commemoration, use the collect and lessons in prayer, whether individually or in corporate worship, then tell us what you think. For more information about this project, click here.

About this commemoration

Paul Jones was born in 1880 in the rectory of St. Stephen’s Church, Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. After graduating from Yale University and the Episcopal Divinity School in Cambridge, Massachusetts, he accepted a call to serve a mission in Logan, Utah. In 1914 Paul Jones was appointed Archdeacon of the Missionary District of Utah and, later that year, was elected its Bishop. Meanwhile, World War I had begun.

As Bishop of Utah, Paul Jones did much to expand the Church’s mission stations and to strengthen diocesan institutions. At the same time he spoke openly about his opposition to war. With the United States entry into the war, the Bishop of Utah’s views became increasingly controversial. At a meeting of the Fellowship of Reconciliation in Los Angeles in 1917, Bishop Jones expressed his belief that “war is unchristian,” for which he was attacked with banner headlines in the Utah press. As a result of the speech and the reaction it caused in Utah, a commission of the House of Bishops was appointed to investigate the situation. In their report, the commission concluded that “The underlying contention of the Bishop of Utah seems to be that war is unchristian. With this general statement the Commission cannot agree … ” The report went on to recommend that “The Bishop of Utah ought to resign his office,” thus rejecting Paul Jones’ right to object to war on grounds of faith and conscience.

 In the spring of 1918, Bishop Jones, yielding to pressure, resigned as Bishop of Utah. For the next 23 years, until his death on September 4, 1941, he continued a ministry within the Church dedicated to peace and conscience, speaking always with a conviction and gentleness rooted in the Gospel.

 In his farewell to the Missionary District of Utah in 1918, Bishop Jones said: “Where I serve the Church is of small importance, so long as I can make my life count in the cause of Christ … Expediency may make necessary the resignation of a Bishop at this time, but no expedience can ever justify the degradation of the ideals of the episcopate which these conclusions seem to involve.”

 Collects

I. Merciful God, who didst send thy beloved Son to preach peace to those who are far off and to those who anear: Raise up in this and every land witnesses, who, after the example of thy servant Paul Jones, will stand firm in proclaiming the Gospel of the Prince of Peace, our Savior Jesus Christ, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

II. Merciful God, you sent your beloved Son to preach peace to those who are far off and to those who are near: Raise up in this and every land witnesses who, after the example of your servant Paul Jones, will stand firm in proclaiming the Gospel of the Prince of Peace, our Savior Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Lessons

76 Malachi 2:17–3:5

1 Peter 3:8–14 a

John 8:31

Psalm  32

 Preface of a Saint (3)

Text From Holy, Women, Holy Men: Celebrating the Saints © 2010 by The Church Pension Fund. Used by permission.
 
 We invite your reflections about this commemoration and its suitability for the official calendar and worship of The Episcopal Church. How did this person’s life witness to the Gospel? How does this person inspire us in Christian life today?

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10 Responses to September 4: Paul Jones, 1941

  1. Michael Hartney says:

    New New Testament Reading: Is there some reason why 1 Peter 3: 14b is omitted?

    Do not fear what they fear, and do not be intimidated,

    and why not add 1 Peter 3: 15 while we are at it?

    but in your hearts sanctify Christ as Lord. Always be ready to make your defense to anyone who demands from you an accounting for the hope that is in you.

  2. John LaVoe says:

    “With the United States entry into the war,…”
    This needs an apostrophe after “States” because it means “with the entry OF the United States into the war.”

    The penultimate paragraph strikes me as a more fitting concluding paragraph, since it both states his date of death and summarizes what he did as a Christian dedicated to a higher calling than the status quo of the world. The present concluding paragraph is perfectly servicable, and would flow very naturally after the sentence (and paragraph) that reports his resignation as Bishop of Utah.

  3. John LaVoe says:

    The title is curious in that it states NOTHING about his standing, accomplishment, role, etc. (Is that what they refer to as “a man who needs no introduction?”) How about “Advocate for Peace”?

  4. Philip Wainwright says:

    Perhaps I’m being over-sensitive, but the collect seems to me to be capable of an interpretation which equates the absence of war with the peace which faith in Christ brings. I don’t have any particular suggestion for an amendment, but would prefer something in which we pray that we who don’t necessarily agree that all war is wrong for Christians may bring the same passion and singlemindedness to the applications of the gospel that we do hold. If nothing better were proposed, I’d probably use ‘Of a Saint’ I on p 450 of the BCP.

  5. Michael Hartney says:

    The title for Bishop Jones has been omitted in the printing of HWHM – inadvertently I would imagine.

    If appears in Lesser Feasts and Fasts 2006 (page 369) as:
    “Bishop and Peace Advocate, 1941”

    John gets the prize!🙂

  6. Suzanne Sauter says:

    It is almost ironic that the passage from 1 Peter 3 was chosen given what the author of 1 Peter has to say in 1 Peter 2:13-17 as it relates to obedience to civil authority. Perhaps Paul Jones would be better remembered by James 3: 18: And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.

    I am confused by the biography. Is the Episcopal church apologizing because it required the Rev. Paul Jones to resign as Bishop of Utah because of his stance that believing in peace required him to be a pacifist? The Episcopal church has traditionally been in the philosophical camp of “just war” and is not among the “peace churches.” Mr. Wainwright justly points out that the collect sounds as though all war is evil, which is not the traditional position of the Episcopal Church.

  7. Nigel Renton says:

    The Propers need a caption. I suggest “Missionary Bishop and Witness for Peace”

    Substitute “Theological” for “Divinity” in line 3 of the first paragraph. (The seminary’s name from 1867 through the merger with Philadelphia Divinity School in 1974.)

  8. Leonel L. Mitchell says:

    I know Paul Jones was in LLF, but I never paid much attention. There is much to be said for retaining him in the calendar, evern for those of us who disagree with his pacifism.

  9. 2 years later, I’ve come looking to see if anyone else wanted a “propers caption” or a “ministry description” for Bishop Jones. Noting Michael’s citation from LFF 2006, I’m wondering if a relatively recent GC (2000?2003?2006?) would have had to passed the revision he cited. I’m for any of the suggestions above (John/Nigel). Given this year’s convention, is it smoother just to put final approval on HWHM in 2015, propose the calendar change to Jones in 2018 and pass it in 2021?

  10. Nancy Moore says:

    When I became vicar of the tiny little congregation of St John’s, Brownville Junction, ME, I was contacted by one of his descendants who shared with me that for the first 18 months or so after he resigned as bishop, he went to that little railroad town in northern Maine as their vicar. I began my ministry there in September of 2001, and took incredible comfort in the following years that a man of such radical peace had stood in that pulpit.

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