Welcome to the Journey

We are on a journey to gather a new Episcopal Church community and build a church in Gilbert, Arizona. In my first post, I invited you to experience this journey with us. I thought as a first step I’d begin to share some of my personal and spiritual journey with you that has led me to this place.

I’m a middle-aged father of two grown children who have graced our lives and who’ve blessed us with two young grandchildren. I’ve been the husband of Yolanda, my faithful companion on this journey, for 30 years. I have roots in the Episcopal Church which go back to when I was baptized at two months old at the Episcopal Church in my hometown of Melbourne, Florida. At the age of 11, I had a powerful spiritual experience where I was certain I had encountered the living God. It changed my life. I spent my youth immersed in the life of the church.

When I graduated high school, I left home to attend a big state university. On my own for the first time, I discovered a large world out there filled with new and exciting things, and decided being a part of a church community wasn’t so important anymore. Pursuing a degree, developing a career, raising a family, and starting a business were my interests that informed my priorities in the years following. Except for two short stints when I returned to church to have my two children baptized (to keep my mother happy), I didn’t darken the door or warm the pews of a church for 16 years.

I had disconnected from God, but God never disconnected from me.

During this period, from time to time I would hear God’s still, small voice and feel His gentle stirrings in my soul inviting me back into relationship with Him. For a long time my response was, “Not now, maybe later.” But God was persistent, and at the age of 34 God succeeded in breaking through and renewing my heart. I returned to the church of my youth, with my family in tow, and never looked back.

When I was 42, God came calling again in a powerful way, pushing me forward towards a new role in the church as an ordained minister. I entered a period of testing this call and then moved my family to Texas so that I could attend seminary for my theological education. Following graduation, I accepted a position as an assistant at a church in Cave Creek, Arizona, then later as the Rector (think Senior Pastor) of another church in Mesa. Then last year, my leader and pastor, the Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Arizona, invited me to head-up the efforts to start a new church in the Town of Gilbert. It was an offer I couldn’t refuse.

And that’s brings us up to the present. I have officially been on this journey for a little more than a year. It has been tremendously challenging. There are times the experience is deeply satisfying, with moments filled with great joy and clarity of purpose. And there have been stretches when I’ve been disheartened, uncertain of the course ahead. But at the end of the day, I take solace in knowing that this church plant is in God’s hands, not mine.

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Roll Away the Stone

Welcome to the blog page of our website. My name is Scott Jones, an Episcopal priest/pastor and church planter. I am gathering a new Christian community in the Town of Gilbert, Arizona named Resurrection Episcopal Church.

Planting a church is a new experience for me. So is writing a blog. Both of these endeavors have been something I’ve thought about doing for years (actually church planting is call, more on that in future posts). But it hasn’t been the right timing…until now. And maybe now, during this early stage of building up a new congregation in Christ’s church, is the time to extend our reach out in the world through a blog.

So here we are. But what do I write about? I don’t really want to use forum this to post my sermons, debate the great theological or spiritual questions of faith, or speak about larger issues in the church. These subjects are better articulated by those who are more gifted and knowledgeable than I am. I would also like it to be something other than just a forum that repeats or passes on someone else’s educational or entertaining information. Instead, I desire to have an interactive conversation with my readers on the subject of starting a new church, and I want to do that by inviting you to share in my journey of growing this new congregation.

Through this blog I plan to open up my experiences to the audience. The good, the bad and the ugly. I want to share with you the process of starting a new church from the perspective of someone who’s working at it each day. I want you to feel our joy, read about our struggles, empathize with my frustrations, celebrate our successes and return to me your encouragement and wisdom. I want you to see how God works through a messy process that is more art than science. I want you to understand my personal spiritual passions, why I must do this, and I hope you may be able to relate to our journey in ways that will help you to get in touch with your own spiritual journey and passions.

To use an image from the Resurrection story in the Bible, like the stone that was rolled away from the entrance of the empty tomb of Jesus to reveal the mystery of new life that conquers even death, I hope to “roll away the stone” revealing the mysteries behind establishing a new church community whose mission is to bring the new life promised by Christ’s Resurrection to the community of Gilbert.

I invite you to come along. Interested?

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