R.I.P. Former Bishop William "Bill" Jones
The Rt. Rev. William (Bill) Jones
Jan. 24, 1927 – Oct. 11, 2020
The Rt. Rev. William (Bill) A. Jones, Jr., former bishop of the Diocese of Missouri, died Sunday, Oct. 11, 2020. He was 93 years old.
Jones was a native of Memphis, Tennessee. He was ordained the eighth Bishop of Missouri on May 3, 1975, and served as bishop until his retirement in 1993.
“I join with the people of the Diocese of Missouri in giving thanks for the life, work, and ministry of the Rt. Rev. William “Bill” Jones,” said the Rt. Rev. Deon K. Johnson, eleventh Bishop of the Diocese of Missouri. “Bishop Jones served as the eighth Bishop of the Diocese of Missouri during a period of significant change in the Episcopal Church. His pastoral presence and good humor went well beyond his tenure as Bishop Diocesan.”
Following General Convention’s approval in 1976 to ordain women, Bishop Jones ordained the first woman in the Diocese of Missouri. He also worked to expand lay involvement in the diocese, establishing the Lichtenberger Society to provide spiritual opportunities for lay people. Bishop Jones re-established the Bishop and Council model and continued the diocesan tradition of responding to social needs. Under Jones’ leadership, the diocese began a new companion relationship with the Diocese in Nigeria. That relationship led to many visits, establishment of programs and longtime friendships.
The bishop and his wife, Margaret Loaring-Clark Jones (Maggie), had four daughters. Bishop Jones retired in 1993 and the couple moved east, finally settling in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania. His wife Maggie passed away on February 29, 2020.
“I was fortunate enough to chat with Bishop Jones after my election and again after my ordination & consecration. I greatly appreciate his deep wisdom, profound insight and his willingness to support me ‘as his bishop,’’’ said Bishop Johnson. “Bishop Jones now joins with that glorious band of saints who have entered into a nearer presence with the Eternal God, and we give thanks for the tremendous impact his life and ministry has had in shaping who we are as followers of Jesus in this time and place. May Bishop Jones rest in Christ’s peace and rise in glory.”
The bishop's daughters are planning a private service for their father at Christ Church Christiana Hundred in Wilmington, Delaware. A portion of his ashes will be interred there.
Once it is safe to gather again, his family plans to bring a portion of his ashes back the Diocese of Missouri for interment and a celebration of life at Christ Church Cathedral. We will let you know when those plans are made.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to the Southern Poverty Law Center.
Read Bishop Jones' obituary at Legacy.com .
Photo: Bishop Jones with his wife and daughters