The Very Rev. Jonathon Wesley Jensen is a Kentucky native arriving from Arkansas
November 23, 2013 11:38 PM
The Very Rev. Jonathon Jensen, the incoming rector of Calvary Episcopal Church.
By Peter Smith / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
The largest congregation in the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh has tapped an Arkansas cathedral pastor for its next rector.
Calvary Episcopal Church announced Thursday the appointment of The Very Rev. Jonathon Wesley Jensen to be its rector. He has been dean of Trinity Episcopal Cathedral in Little Rock, Ark., since 2009.
Rev. Jensen, 42, is slated to start Feb. 1, 2014, in Pittsburgh.
Rev. Jensen is an "inordinately good listener and a caring and warm person," said Joseph D.C. Wilson III, senior warden at Calvary. While the church has a long history of urban ministry, it is looking to redouble such efforts after years in which internal matters in the denomination have commanded much of the church's attention.
"In the recent past, Calvary has been focused on diocesan matters and bringing a new bishop to Pittsburgh and now bringing a new rector to Calvary," Mr. Wilson said. "It's time to take that time and energy and focus it outward into the community."
Calvary, with more than 1,600 members, is the largest of the 37 active congregations in the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh.
Ordained in 1996, Rev. Jensen served as a pastor in Kansas, Louisiana and Maryland before working in Little Rock. The Kentucky native graduated from Transylvania University in Lexington, Ky., and Virginia Theological Seminary in Alexandria, Va.
Calvary overlaps the neighborhoods of East Liberty and Shadyside. Founded in 1855, it has long had outreaches to the poor and to people with HIV and AIDS, among others. Its past rectors include Samuel Shoemaker, an early proponent of Alcoholics Anonymous, and it has hosted talks by South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu and the leading bishops in the Episcopal Church and the global Anglican Communion.
Calvary's recently retired rector, the Rev. Harold T. Lewis, was outspoken in areas of social justice and community-police relations and took a leading role in seeking to maintain church assets within the Episcopal Diocese during a major schism.
In 2008, the previous bishop of the diocese, many clergy and parishes left the Episcopal Church to form a diocese within the new Anglican Church in North America in response to liberal trends in the Episcopal Church, most prominently the ordination of an openly gay bishop in New Hampshire in 2003. Those who remained in the Episcopal Diocese, which included conservatives, appointed a new leader, Bishop Dorsey W.M. McConnell in 2012.
Rev. Jensen and his wife, Natalie Jensen, an adjunct history professor at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, plan to look for a home within walking distance of Calvary and nearby universities.
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