Bishop Paul Jones, Founder of the Episcopal Peace Fellowship
On September 4th, the Episcopal Church celebrates and remembers the life of the Rt. Rev. Paul Jones, 4th Bishop of the Missionary District of Utah. He became bishop in 1916 and was a prominent pacifist.
As the fever for the United States to enter World War I strengthened, Bishop Jones’ pacifist views were considered controversial. He believed and stated that “war is unchristian.” He spoke out openly and frequently about his opposition to war. His views faced opposition in much of the Church, especially his home diocese.
In April 1918, a commission of the House of Bishops forced Paul Jones to resign his post as Bishop of Utah because of his outspoken opposition to World War I. Jones then served as a chaplain at Antioch College and founded the Fellowship of Reconciliation. In the 1930s, Jones was deeply committed to assisting Jewish and other refugees fleeing the Nazi regime in Germany. He pushed the Episcopal Church to take up the cause of refugees, a topic that like today was not without controversy.
As a result of his efforts, the Episcopal Church formally established the Presiding Bishop’s Fund for World Relief which later became the Episcopal Relief & Development.
Jones’ title as bishop was restored in 1939 with seat but no voice in the House of Bishops. Until his death on September 4, 1941, he dedicated his life and ministry to peace rooted in the Gospel.