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July 25, 2013

A man of faith

In his ministry, Jones isn't bound by denomination

NEWBURYPORT — Growing up the son of a foreign services officer, St. Paul’s Episcopal Church assistant rector, the Rev. Oliver Jones, 59, has led an eclectic life — and that is a good thing both for him and his flock, since he is an ordained Lutheran minister.

“The Mass will always seem the same really, whether you go to a Catholic or an Episcopal or a Lutheran church,” Jones said. “In my perspective, I don’t really care. The niceties of theology are something that somebody else can deal with. That’s my attitude on that.”

Ordained as a pastor in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America in 2008, Jones began serving as the assistant rector to the Rev. Martha Hubbard at St. Paul’s in 2011.

“A lot of churches have part-time clergy,” Jones said. “We’re blessed to have one and a half.”

Jones was brought to the North Shore working in the high-tech business in the 1980s and settled with his wife, Carolyn, in Andover for a number of years. Always a man of faith, Jones was moved to join Carolyn in her Lutheran faith in 1997. When the two decided to make their then-summer home in Newburyport into their permanent address, Jones found the opportunity to do his pastoral work at St. Paul’s.

“I do weddings, I do funerals, I clean the toilets when they need it sometimes,” Jones said, laughing, of his part-time position. “I really like working with the young people. At this time, we’re planning some efforts for the young people for the churches in Newburyport, Groveland and Amesbury. We’re going to do some stuff together this summer and that kind of stuff is just terrific. Our young people get to know other people.”

Jones and his congregation have also been involved in a more ambitious outreach program of late, conducting an annual mission to El Salvador.

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