Archive for Saturday, July 31, 2004

KU graduate named bishop for Methodist churches

July 31, 2004


Thousands of members of the United Methodist Church in Kansas have a new bishop.

Bishop Scott J. Jones has been elected and assigned as the new bishop for the Kansas Area United Methodist Church. Jones, 50, will live in Wichita after he begins serving Kansas Sept. 1. He will maintain offices in Wichita and Topeka.

Jones graduated in 1977 from Kansas University with a bachelor's degree in philosophy. His wife, Mary Lou Reece, graduated the same year from KU, with a bachelor's in American studies.

The couple's three children are Jayhawks, too.

Jameson, 23, graduated in December with a double degree in American studies and civil engineering. He will start law school in September at Stanford University.

Twins Arthur and Marynell, 20, will be juniors at KU in the fall. Arthur is majoring in American studies, while Marynell is majoring in English. She is vice president of her sorority, Kappa Alpha Theta.

"Mary Lou's grandmother was in the first class of nurses graduating from KU, I think in 1917, then both of her parents went to KU and all of her sisters. So my children and their cousins are fourth-generation Jayhawks," Scott Jones said.

Coming to Kansas to begin serving as the spiritual and organization leader for the United Methodist Church represents a homecoming for Jones and his wife, a native Kansan.

"We love Kansas and are very excited that the church has given us the opportunity to come home," Scott said. "Jameson said to me, 'Dad, you're 20 years late, but you're finally getting Mom back home.' We had intended to come back to Kansas years ago, but it has just never worked out until now."

Jones was elected to the episcopacy July 16 and assigned to the Kansas Area East and West conferences July 17, during the South Central Jurisdictional Conference in Corpus Christi, Texas.

Jones, who will be the highest United Methodist Church authority in Kansas, will succeed Bishop Albert Frederick "Fritz" Mutti, who retires from that position Aug. 31. Mutti and his wife, Etta Mae, have lived in Topeka and served Kansas United Methodists for the past 12 years.

The new bishop will officially begin serving as bishop Sept. 1.

Jones and his wife are moving to Wichita from Highland Village, a suburb of Dallas. He has been on the faculty of Southern Methodist University for the past seven years, serving as a professor of evangelism in the Perkins School of Theology.

He has also been the director of the Center for the Advanced Study and Practice of Evangelism at Perkins, where he earned a master's of theology in 1981. He went on to receive a doctorate in religious studies in 1992 from SMU.

He said he was excited to begin serving in his new capacity.

"I am deeply honored and slightly overwhelmed with the responsibilities and the opportunity involved in being a bishop. It is a huge trust the church has placed in me, and I seek the support and prayers of all United Methodists in Kansas so that I can be faithful in doing my job," Jones said.

"I have a very optimistic view of the future of United Methodism in Kansas. I think the church is strong, has many talented leaders and great opportunities for doing good. And I'm looking forward to being part of a team of people who are working hard to transform lives and shape our state in positive ways."

Age: 50.Position: The new bishop of the Kansas Area United Methodist Church, which is made up of the Kansas East and West conferences of the United Methodist Church. Lawrence's three United Methodist churches are in the Kansas East Area Conference.Responsibilities: Starting Sept. 1, Jones will be the highest authority of the United Methodist Church in Kansas, serving as its spiritual and organization leader.Education: Bachelor's in American studies, Kansas University, 1977; master's of theology, Southern Methodist University's Perkins School of Theology, 1981; doctorate in religious studies, SMU, 1992.Family: Married for 25 years to Mary Lou Reece. Children: Jameson, 23; Arthur and Marynell (twins), 20.

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