Texas Conference Welcomes Bishop Scott Jones
Bishop Scott Jones’ ministry path has taken him from his Tennessee roots to become a Texas “transplant” once again as the incoming Texas Annual Conference Bishop this September.
Having taught United Methodist doctrine for 20 years, United Methodist history for 18 years and authoring nine books, Bishop Scott Jones calls himself a “Wesley nerd.” His wife Mary Lou, in fact, warns all who will listen that “if ever you want to sing Be Present at Our Table, Lord, Scott will insist on singing the 18th Century version of the hymn.” Bishop Jones and Mary Lou visited the conference office on July 25 and 26 for a few introductory meetings and tours in preparation to settle in officially on September 1.
“We are thrilled to be coming to Houston,” Bishop Jones relayed to the staff. “The closest we’ve been to Houston was our last pastoral appointment in Commerce, Texas.” Sharing his backstory, Bishop Jones admitted, “When people ask me where I am from, my answer is I don’t know, because I was born in Tennessee, attended grade school in Illinois, junior high in Indiana and high school in Colorado.” He met his wife at University of Kansas and they have been married for 37 years.
Mary Lou, who describes herself as an extreme extrovert, took over the reins of the family construction company in 1990 and is bringing her daughter Marynell into the firm, thus marking the fourth generation to be involved. She is passionate about technology that allows her to work virtually while shadowing her husband, and passionate about youth, she says, “I hope to transfer my reputation as ‘Malt Maker Mary Lou’ down here from Great Plains. I have always taken a blender to annual conference and made malts for the students and young adults.”
Bishop Jones adds, “I’m the boring one, she’s the fun one so together we make a great team.” Their oldest son is a lawyer in Denver and second son leads the contemporary service at St. Andrews UMC in Plano, Texas. His twin sister recently joined the construction company with her mom. The Jones’ have two granddaughters and another grandchild due next month.
One of the mountaintop experiences in his career thus far has been being deeply involved in the process of developing the mission statement for the denomination: “making disciples for the transformation of the world.” He admits that he is an early-to-bed, early-to-rise sort of guy and a lifelong learner.
Bishop Jones has long been a student of the renewal and revitalization of the UMC, working with other bishops in the South Central Jurisdiction in recent years to identify the strengths of each conference and encourage cross-conference education. Having been a professor at Perkins School of Theology, in recent years he has been energized by going beyond talking about revitalization to actually doing it. “From what I know about the Texas Annual Conference so far, I am enamored about what is happening here,” he says. “I can say that I often get more of the credit than I deserve, as well as more of the blame, but I don’t profess to have all the answers,” Bishop Jones admits. “I will work to create systems to leverage the gifts, graces and ideas of all as we work together to make contributions to the whole.”
TAC Episcopal Committee Chair, Dr. Karen Dorris reports, “The Episcopacy Committee hosted a dinner for Bishop Jones and his wife Mary Lou Reece on Monday, July 25th. We found them to be warm and engaging and eager to be part of the Texas Annual Conference. Bishop Jones is studying all the documents prepared by the transition team of the 2012 - 2016 Episcopacy Committee and has invited comments from the current committee regarding needs and expectations of the conference as he becomes our new leader.”
Two Services of Welcome are planned for October. One will be held in the northern part of the conference and one in the Houston area. Karen adds, “The Episcopacy Committee and cabinet are preparing a welcome gift for Bishop Jones and Mary Lou which will be placed in the episcopal residence for their arrival along with adequate food and supplies to carry them through the hectic days of unpacking. We hope to help them every way we can to make their transition a smooth one.”
Video: Bishop Huie Welcomes Bishop Jones
Video: Bishop Scott Jones Says Hello to the Texas Annual Conference