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Father Jay Atwwod of St Francis Church   The Rev'd H. Jay Atwood, SSC, Rector

Statement of Faith



As a life long Episcopalian, attending and serving in churches in various parts of the United States, I have experienced and enjoyed a great diversity of worship styles. This background allows me to be very comfortable in many liturgical and pastoral settings, and I believe this helps me to share the love of Jesus Christ with different groups of Christians and those searching for Christ.

I believe the key to Christian growth is personal renewal and spiritual maturity. From this foundation, the Christian, and the Church, moves into a focus on evangelism and mission. I believe the basic requirements needed for successful Christian renewal and growth are: that the Holy Bible be understood as the Word of God; that the Sacraments of the Church be fully celebrated and taught; and that God's people believe, practice, and learn to live out these principles. Using these principles allows me, as a priest, to minister to various groups of differing ages and backgrounds. They also require me to continue to grow and learn, setting aside specific time for myself, my family, and my personal walk with Jesus Christ.


Call to Ministry - DIFFERENT CALLING

Brownwood Priest Trades State Trooper Patrol Car for Episcopal Pulpit

By Harriette Graves
S–T Correspondent

The following article was originally written for the Brownwood Bulletin while Father Atwood served in that community. This version was printed in the October 30, 1993 issue of the San Angelo Standard-Times and reprinted in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram

BROWNWOOD – Once a member of the Florida Highway Patrol, the Rev. Jay Atwood, Rector of the Church of the Good Shepherd of Brownwood, is beginning his fourth year as an Episcopal Priest in this parish.

"I have often been asked why I became a priest after nine years as a highway patrolman" Atwood said, "Ever since I can remember I felt a call to the priesthood."

Before he became a highway patrolman in 1975 while attending the University of Central Florida he had considered becoming a priest but had been told by members of his denomination that he needed some practical work experience in dealing with people before he joined the priesthood.

"I remember at the time I had a few friends who were police officers I felt that kind of experience would be the practical work the Episcopal diocese had suggested," he said. "I also realized it would be dealing with the same things that clergymen would have to deal with." "I loved my work in the Florida Highway Patrol and could go back to it in a minute if it were not for my calling as a priest."

Working in each career capacity served to strengthen his belief in God, Atwood said. "In my entire time with the various departments with law enforcement, my goal was to serve Christ in the best possible way," he said. Prayer frequently was important as he fulfilled his duties as a highway patrolman, he said. "Sometimes my prayers were public, but most of the time, they were just in my own heart and to help me get through to those people who were in trouble on the highway," he said.

"Some of the most difficult times for me as a Christian police officer were dealing with the individuals of various churches during the two riots in Miami and trying to relate Christian values to public outcry and to legal laws," he said. "What was interesting to me is that most officers with whom I worked or knew had a relationship with God but had a difficult time following Christian values in their work." This difficulty was particularly evident when personnel were called to handle major traffic accidents, homicides, and drug cases. "The innocent victims of these crimes and survivors were always asking why God would allow this to happen and there were no right answers," Atwood said. "I, for one, used my belief and background in the church to assist, comfort, and try to answer their questions. I was never called down by my superiors for expressing my beliefs and faith in Jesus Christ to answer everyday problems." Fellow officers in the midst of personal problems often asked Atwood how he was able to deal with similar problems, he said.

During all these years Atwood said he thought more and more about becoming a priest. "I continued searching out the support and guidance of my church, my diocese and the bishop," he said. In 1981, Highway Patrolman Atwood left the department to attend Trinity Episcopal School For Ministry in Pittsburgh, Pa. After five years of studying and working odd jobs to pay expenses, he received a master's degree in ministry and was ordained.

His first two pastorates were in Pennsylvania. In 1989, he came to the Brownwood church. "Every day I realize that I am here because God called me to this church," he said. Atwood is involved in a number of ministries in the community, including Brownwood Regional Medical Center's chaplaincy program, the Brownwood Area Ministerial Alliance, Unity Scholarship program, various church activities, and serves as chaplain for Medivac Ambulance Service. "I was asked sometime ago to become a chaplain for the Brownwood Police Department but turned it down because I was afraid that my training as a police officer would tend to override my responsibilities as a chaplain." "As a chaplain for Medivac, I spend time with crew members and whenever time permits, I plan to ride with the crew to an accident scene."



Pastoral Positions


Rector, Saint Francis Of Assisi
Willow Park, Texas
1994 — Present

Society of the Holy Cross, Priest
2002 — Present

Rural Dean, Western Deanery
Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth
1995 — 2003

Rector, Church Of The Good Shepherd
Brownwood, Texas
1990 — 1994

Priest In Charge, St. Matthew's
Comanche, Texas
1992 — 1994

Parish Administrator, All Saints' Church

Wynnewood, Pennsylvania
1986 — 1990

Non-Pastoral Positions


Assistant to the Business Manager and Studio Manager
Trinity Episcopal School for Ministry
Ambridge, Pennsylvania
1982— 1986

Self–Employed General Contractor
Ambridge, Pennsylvania
1982— 1986

Equipment Control Lead, Entertainment Division
Walt Disney World
Orlando, Florida
1974 — 1982

Cast Member/Lead, Operations Division
Walt Disney World
Orlando, Florida
1972 — 1974

Public Safety Department Relationships
1970 — 1981

Florida Highway Patrol Auxiliary, Troop D

Oviedo Police Department
Dispatcher, Volunteer Fireman, EMT
Oviedo, Florida

Frain Security Service
Security Officer
Miami, Florida

Dade County Public Safety Department
Miami, Florida


Annual Municipal Fire School
Texas A & M University
College Station, Texas
1999 — Present

National Fire Academy Courses
various locations
2001 — Present

Critical Incident Stress Debriefing Certification
Brownwood, Texas

Master of Divinity
Trinity Episcopal School For Ministry
Ambridge, Pennsylvania
1981 — 1986

Bachelor of Science
General Studies with Five Majors
University of Central Florida
Orlando, Florida
1972 — 1981

Certificate of Police Standards
Seminole County Community College of Florida

Miami Central Senior High School
Miami, Florida



Harlow Jay Atwood and Katherine Wynn Buckler
Joined in Holy Matrimony
December 1, 1984
All Saints' Church
Wynnewood, Pennsylvania

Jennifer Joy
Blessed in Birth
June 5, 1989
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

James Alexander
Blessed in Birth
March 23, 1991
Brownwood, Texas

Areas of Interest


Delegate to Extra-Diocesan Synods
Diocese of Fort Worth
2008 - 2011

General Convention of the Episcopal Church
1994 — 2008

Standing Commission on the Structure of the Church
The Episcopal Church of the United States of America
2000 — 2006

Diocesan Representative
Anglican Communion
Decade of G-Code 2000 Conference

General Convention Coordinator
Episcopal Synod of America
1991 — 2006

Presidential Award for Meritorious Service presented by the Episcopal Synod of America (1995)

Community Ministries

Vice Commander / Member
Parker County Firefighter's Honor Guard
2004 - Present

Chaplain / Firefighter

Aledo Volunteer Fire Department
1997 — Present

Texas Motor Speedway
— Present

Parker County Firefighter's Honor Guard
— Present

Member, Board of Adjustments
City of Willow Park
— Present

East Parker County Chamber of Commerce
— Present

Pappy Thompson Public Service Award presented by the
East Parker County Chamber of Commerce

Chairman, Planning and Zoning Commission
City of Willow Park
1996 — 2003

Founding Chaplain/Coordinator
Brownwood Regional Medical Center
Chaplaincy Program
1991 — 1994

Award for Outstanding Devotion to Chaplaincy Program presented by Brownwood Regional Medical Center (1994)