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The Liturgical Calendar: The Church Remembers

Today the church remembers Paul Jones, 1941.

Paul Jones spent his entire ordained ministry in the predominately Mormon state of Utah. He was a loved and respected pastor and teacher and was elected and ordained Missionary Bishop of Utah in 1914.

A sensitive and thoughtful man, he had long expressed his belief that participation in warfare was unconscionable and contrary to the teachings of Jesus Christ. When America entered World War I against Germany he was by no means sympathetic with the German cause, but he did not believe that engaging in war was ever an acceptable Christian alternative. Furthermore, he argued that for the church to take the side of one nation against another was to surrender her catholicity and become no more than an instrument of the state. At a public meeting in Los Angeles in 1917 he expressed his opinion that "war is unchristian." The press in Utah attacked the bishop for his stand.

The matter was brought to the attention of the Episcopal House of Bishops. Challenged by the House, Bishop Jones prepared an eloquent and carefully reasoned explanation of his pacifist position. The House of Bishops called on Jones to resign and issued a pastoral letter in strong support of the American war effort. Bishop Jones was a very peaceful pacifist and he quietly resigned and largely disappeared from public life. His witness stung the consciences of some and left a lasting impression on this church.

Read the Wikipedia article here.

Merciful God, you sent your beloved Son to preach peace to those who are far off and to those who are near: Raise up in this and every land witnesses who, after the example of your servant Paul Jones, will stand firm in proclaiming the Gospel of the Prince of Peace, our Savior Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

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