Thelma Jones, Cross Connection Editor to Retire
Thelma Jones has been serving the church for over twenty years, beginning employment at the Texas Annual Conference in June 1993 after working for Windsor Village UMC for around five years. She noted there has been a lot of change during her tenure in the United Methodist Church and said “We’ve undergone 3 or 4 different structural changes since I’ve been here.”
Jones started as the Administrative Assistant to Rev. Sherry Townsend – then Director of Education and Teaching Ministries. When Bishop Norris was appointed, restructuring lead her to become the Administrative Assistant to Rev. Kathy Brun - Director of Spiritual Formation and Teaching Ministries.
In 2004 she was promoted to become the Editor/Coordinator for Cross Connection in the Communications Department as the previous editor left to attend seminary.
“I consider part of my job ministry. In communications we are trying to equip local churches to make disciples and to understand the focus of the conference. If we are effective in spreading that word, then the vision continues.”
She added that there are lots of fond memories. “People who reshaped some of my thinking... When I first came on staff I really had no idea of how the United Methodist Church worked. I knew nothing about its structure or how this agency worked with that agency.”
“I have a lot of fond memories of a lot of people I have worked with. Dr. Asbury Lennox has passed on, but he was the person who hired me. Rev. Jim Foster was instrumental in getting me into communications. Faulk Landrum, Wallace Shook, Jim Crawford… All these people were on staff when I came here –– and they have all, in one way or another, helped shape my thinking. “
“I’ll miss some of my morning talks with Dr. Stansell over coffee because we get here at 6:30 every day. Some of the things he’s shared with me helped me get through my day. Lynn Davis is a walking encyclopedia on the structure of the UMC and the discipline. Nancy Hinshaw came here at the same time and we have worked together and become close. I’ve watched her children grow up and have families of their own…”
One of the things Jones says she is most proud of is having gone through specialized training to become a certified UM Secretary through the Professional Association of United Methodist Church Secretaries – PAUMCS. “You really get a good working knowledge of the UMC, church policies, finance, and why those boards and agencies are set up the way they are along with the governing body - the Book of Discipline. You cover all of that in a week at Emory in Atlanta, Georgia. Working in communications, I had something to fall back on.
Jones plans to spend the next several months relaxing and perhaps some light travel – but only domestically. “After that, starting in 2013 I’d like to be available to help local churches that don’t have the capability or can’t afford to have professional desktop publishing at their disposal.” She’s also sure she’ll spend more time in various ministries with her home church – Windsor Village as well as continuing her work with Project Rowhouse and Black Methodists for Church Renewal (BMCR).
Jones added that she “would love to see a very-very strong bond between the conference and the local church. I think there’s a gap there somewhere and things just kind of fall off into that black hole. I’d love to see that bridged, because if that can happen – if you have the conference and the local church meeting each other - the vision they have and the vision focus they have for making disciples – it’s done. But we have to work together. The local church and the people of the conference. This is what needs to happen. Let’s just work together and make it happen.”
“I would like to thank the UMC for helping me grow. And the conference specifically, because they gave me the opportunity to understand the church on a level I never would have seen otherwise.”