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PITTSBURGH: The Rev. James Hobby Discerned as Bishop Elect for Anglican Diocese

PITTSBURGH: The Rev. James Hobby Discerned as Bishop Elect for Anglican Diocese

By Ian Mikrut
April 23, 2016

St. Stephen's Church, Sewickley, PA: Following a five month discernment journey after Archbishop Duncan's retirement announcement at Diocesan Convention in November, the Rev. James Hobby was elected by a majority of deputies at a Special Convention of the Anglican Diocese of Pittsburgh to serve as the next bishop of Pittsburgh. The election is subject to confirmation by the College of Bishops meeting in June 20-23, 2016. The Rev. James Hobby is currently serving as the rector of Trinity Anglican Church in Thomasville, GA.

"The Standing Committee would like to honor Archbishop Duncan, and we look forward to celebrating his ministry among us," said the Rev. Paul Cooper, Standing Committee President. "God provided the leadership that Pittsburgh needed in the person of Robert Duncan, and we expect an unprecedented outpouring of gratitude and thanksgiving in the months ahead."

The journey to get this point involved a decentralized discernment and nominating process where the Diocesan Standing Committee opened the doors for communication, prayer and discernment among the districts. Diocesan districts met and produced nominees for election, held over the weekend (April 22-23, 2016) at St. Stephen's Church, Sewickley.

A slate of eight Nominees who were willing to stand for election to be the Next Bishop of Pittsburgh were announced on March 7, 2016. Three Nominees asked to be withdrawn from consideration, leaving five Nominees who were set to appear on the ballot at the Special Convention.

"The Standing Committee is grateful for the prayerful manner and approach the diocese took to bring us to the election of our next bishop," said Cooper. "So many people were praying. We wished for prayer, not politics. Thank you to everyone who helped in that effort."

The Nominees included the Rev. John Paul Chaney, Rector of Seeds of Hope (Bloomfield, PA); the Rev. Bill Driscoll, Rector of Church of the Redeemer (Jacksonville, FL); The Rev. Jack Gabig PhD, Associate Prof. at Nashotah House Seminary (Nashotah, WI); the Rev. Hobby and the Venerable Canon Jack Lumanog, Canon to the Archbishop and Primate 7 COO, ACNA. The Rev. Jonathan Millard, Rector of Church of the Ascension (Oakland, PA) was nominated from the floor of Convention as the sixth candidate for Bishop.

These six Nominees were asked to prepare and submit written materials for clergy- and lay-deputies' consideration. The materials included a one-page testimony, a two-page resume, and a five-page response to a comprehensive questionnaire.

The Friday of Special Convention began with evening prayer and a presentation from the Standing Committee. Following opening statements from each Nominee, all clergy and lay deputies were strongly encouraged to attend a moderated Q&A session with the Nominees.

After a morning Eucharist and initial convention business, the election process began Saturday morning, with ballots distributed individually to certified deputies or their alternates at registration. A concurrent majority was required of both clergy and lay Orders.

In the fifth ballot an election was reached in both Orders as the Rev. Jim Hobby was named the Bishop Elect to be confirmed by the College of Bishops.

"Jim Hobby is a leader the deputies of the Anglican Diocese have chosen to be the Eighth Bishop of Pittsburgh. God willing and the College of Bishops confirming this election, he will begin his service in the 151st year of our corporate life," said Archbishop Robert Duncan. "I will do all I can as his predecessor to support him in the catalytic ministry to which he has been called."

In his address to Convention, the Rev. Hobby expressed his deep appreciation to the Diocese of Pittsburgh, where he was ordained almost 30 years ago. He also explained his willingness to "embrace the adventure" and trust in God at the start of this journey as Bishop.

"It's about His call, not my capacity. His Grace, not my gifts," said Hobby. "Christ's Cross, not my competence. It's about the Spirit's power, not my personality."

VOL was told that his wife is also an ordained priest and is related to famous evangelical missionaries Jim and Elizabeth Elliot. A source in the diocese said Hobby is very thoughtful and soft spoken, v very mission minded and has lots of experience in parish ministry. He came in second to Neil Lebhar in the election of bishop in ACNA Gulf Atlantic Diocese some years ago.


The Rev. James "Jim" Hobby

Describe how you came to Christian faith; and your calling to ordained ministry.

Jesus drew me to Himself through my longing for belonging and through His people enjoying each other. By the time I was thirteen and a freshman in high school, I had lived in 7 cities and 4 states (Georgia, Michigan, New Jersey and New York). "Home" meant the house we were currently living in; and "friends" had little meaning at all. So, when one of my new schoolmates invited me to a Lay Witness weekend at his Methodist church, I agreed to go -- having no idea what to expect. Over the course of the weekend 4 college students from Roberts Wesleyan College shared the gospel with us; and, equally important to me, their lives. I saw how much they enjoyed each other. I wanted what they had. On Sunday morning, before church, my small group leader asked if any of us wanted to accept Jesus. Without knowing what that meant exactly, but hoping it included finding the kind of friendships these college students had, I prayed to receive Christ.

Given my experience, it's no wonder that small groups and Christian community have been key parts of my personal discipleship and my leadership in the Church.

The Presbyterian church that I was attending with my parents didn't know what to do with a high school student eager to learn about the Bible and the Faith. So, they elected me as the Youth representative to the Session and allowed me to plan and preach at a Bible Sunday service.
In the Fall of my senior year, my dad announced to the family that we would be moving back to New Jersey. So, I played my last football game on Friday night and got into the car Saturday morning to start a new life. This turned out to be a key providential moment. The Lord led my sister and me (and eventually the whole family) to a great Baptist church down the road. The Youth Pastor there started discipling me and helped me in the application process to Wheaton College. I took responsibility for my own following of Christ and started reading through the Bible with earnestness on an annual basis (a pattern that has continued for 40 years). It was during this time that God started teaching me about His heart for the nations of the world and stirring in my heart a desire to be involved with His mission.

As I headed off to Wheaton, I believed that God had called me to full-time Christian ministry; possibly as a missionary or a Youth Pastor. My wife, Shari, and I met at Wheaton, dated and were married the summer before her senior year. After her graduation, we felt the Lord leading us to Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary to pursue theological training.

On our first Sunday at seminary, we decided to attend Christ Church, South Hamilton, which had been suggested by Shari's sister and brother-in-law, recent "converts" to the Episcopal Church. From our first encounter with Anglican worship, we felt that we had found something for which we had been (unwittingly) hunting. Shari and I were confirmed in May of our first year in seminary. We were hooked!

Becoming Episcopalians caused us to rethink what my sense of call to full-time ministry meant. Since both Shari (a missionary kid from Guatemala) and I shared a commitment to global mission we started wondering if the Lord wanted us in the States or overseas. We attended a SAMS Inquirers' Conference. We interviewed with Anglican bishops from Chile and Tanzania. Everyone encouraged us to pursue ordination in the Episcopal Church and to spend some time in parish ministry. We received that as the Lord's direction and transferred to Trinity School for Ministry. Years later, Ralph Winter would visit St. Paul's, Darien, while I was there and offer this image for our calling: "If you see a house on fire, you can grab a bucket, or you can wake a hundred sleeping firemen." We've been waking sleeping firemen for 30 years.

As I went through the ordination discernment process in the Diocese of Pittsburgh I sensed that the Lord was calling me to a ministry that would include parish ministry, missions and teaching. That sense of call has proven to be quite accurate. In 1986, Bishop Alden Hathaway ordained me as a deacon and a priest in the Diocese of Pittsburgh.


1983-1985 Trinity Episcopal School for Ministry, Ambridge, PA - M.Div.
1981-1983 Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, S. Hamilton, MA
1975-1979 Wheaton College, Wheaton, IL -- B.A. in Christian Education

Parish Experience:

2007 -- Present Trinity Anglican Church, Thomasville, GA -- Rector
2005 -- 2007 St. Peter's Anglican Church, Tallahassee, FL -- Priest/Missionary-in-Residence
2002 -- 2005 St. John's Episcopal Church, Tallahassee, FL -- Priest/Missionary-in-Residence
1993 -- 2001 Advent Episcopal Church, Tallahassee, FL -- Rector
1990 -- 1993 St. Paul's Episcopal Church, Darien, Connecticut -- Assistant
1986 -- 1990 St. Paul's Episcopal Church, Monongahela, PA (Rector) and St. John's Episcopal Church,
Donora, PA (Vicar)

Diocesan Leadership Experience:

2010 -- Present Canon for Congregational Development (Gulf Atlantic Diocese, ACNA)
2009 -- Present Ordination Preparation Team (Gulf Atlantic Diocese, ACNA)
2006 -- 2009 Steering Committee (Anglican Alliance of North Florida)
2001 -- 2005 Global Missions Catalyst Committee (Episcopal Diocese of Florida)
1995 -- 1999 Strategic Planning Committee (Episcopal Diocese of Florida)
1988 -- 1990 Cursillo Secretariat (Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh)

Teaching Experience:

2014 -- Present Adjunct Faculty, Thomas University
 Introduction to World Religions
2007 -- Present Trinity School for Ministry, Ambridge, PA
 Introduction to World Mission (2007, 2008)
 Christian Apologetics (2016)
1992 -- Present Perspectives Presenter (Professor of Record since 2003).
1995 -- 2008 Faculty, Center for Biblical Studies, Tallahassee, FL
 Introduction to the Old Testament
 Introduction to the New Testament
 Introduction to Church History
 Introduction to Global Mission

Mission Experience:

2007, 2008, 2012 Short-term mission trips to Uganda (2) and India
2006 -- 2011 Co-Director, Ethnē Mission Networking and Equipping
2001 -- 2006 U.S. Mobilization Director, Global Teams
March 2001 Short-term mission trip to Nepal, Pakistan and the Philippines
July 1993 Short-term mission trip to Georgia and Azerbaijan
Winter 1980 10-week visit to Guatemala (childhood home of my missionary-kid wife)
Summer 1979 Traveling evangelistic ministry in Europe with Wheaton College
August 1976 Short-term mission trip to Mexico
Hobby -- Resume - Page 2 of 2
City-Wide Leadership Experience:
2007 -- Present Board of Community Transformation, Thomasville, GA
2001 -- 2006 Mission Tallahassee Leadership Team, Tallahassee, FL

Personal Information:

Married on May 31, 1980 to Shari Elliott Hobby who is also an Anglican priest.
Father of 3 daughters (Elizabeth -- born December, 1983; Katherine -- born June, 1986; and Angela -- born August,
1990). Each daughter took a year after high school to do cross-cultural mission internships (in Nepal, Kenya,
and Costa Rica respectively). All three daughters are married to godly men and actively involved in their

Grandfather of six grandkids (five living) with a seventh to be born in September 2016.
Ordained in the Episcopal Church on June 7, 1986 (Deacon) and December 4, 1986 (Priest). Shari ordained in
June 2000 (Deacon) and December 2000 (Priest). Transferred to the Church of Uganda in 2005 and then to
the Anglican Church in North America in 2009.
Things I enjoy doing in my off time:
 Time with my wife (watching movies, reading out loud, taking walks, playing games, doing crossword
puzzles...doing pretty much anything together!)
 Hanging out with daughters and sons-in-law
 Playing with grandkids
 Reading
 Listening to Great Courses DVDs
 Exercising
 Playing (or watching) a variety of sports


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