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Jacob Worley Called to Fort Worth

The Rev. Jacob Worley, who was turned away from becoming the Anglican Church of Bishop of the Diocese of Caledonia, has been called to lead St. Andrew’s Church in downtown Fort Worth.

St. Andrew’s is a congregation in the diocese led by the Rt. Rev. Jack L. Iker. Worley will be the 16th rector of St. Andrew’s. The 1928 prayer book congregation chose Worley, who has served in Canada, Ireland, and the United States, after an international search.

“We wholeheartedly believe that our collective prayer for ‘a good shepherd, who loves God with all his heart, soul, and mind,’ was heard and fulfilled,” said Stacey Rumfelt, senior warden of St. Andrew’s. “We found Fr. Worley to be a man of conviction and grace, who is willing to stand firm for the faith.

“I’ve been a Christian for 29 years and was sensing a call to ministry early on,” Worley wrote in a letter to St. Andrew’s. “I became an Anglican, first, because I believed that was where I was being called, and also because of Anglicanism’s rooted tradition, evangelical identity and classical Christian foundation. A few of the Anglican theologians I admire are Thomas Cranmer, Hugh Latimer, J.C. Ryle, John Stott, and Ashley Null.”

Worley’s most recent cure was in British Columbia, Canada, where he served in the Diocese of Caledonia from 2014 to 2017 as rector of three yoked congregations known as Bulkley Valley Regional Parish. In early 2017 he was elected to become the next bishop of the diocese.

His selection was rejected by a meeting of the House of Bishops of British Columbia and Yukon because of his earlier decision to plant a church in Las Cruces, New Mexico, under the Province of Rwanda (PEARUSA). Subsequent to the bishops’ action, Worley was also dismissed from parochial duties in Bulkley Valley by Archbishop John Privett. He returned with his family to the United States, where he became canonically resident in the Diocese of the Rocky Mountains (ACNA).

Fr. Worley’s ministry in the Anglican priesthood has been characterized by church planting and renewal, but it is not his first career. As an undergraduate, he earned a bachelor’s degree in zoology and botany at Western New Mexico University, where he met his wife, Kelly. He worked as a wildlife biologist in southern New Mexico and El Paso before answering a call to ordained ministry.

He graduated from Trinity School for Ministry in 2004 and was ordained to the priesthood the following year. After serving as assistant priest and interim rector of St. James Church in Las Cruces, Worley left the Episcopal Church in 2007 to found St. Patrick’s Church in Las Cruces within PEARUSA. In 2013, with the parish established, he spent six months in British Columbia before heading to western Ireland for a year to minister in a “union parish” consisting of four village churches and two schools.

Fr. Worley will begin his ministry with morning services on Sept. 2.

St. Andrew’s, established in 1877, was the first Episcopal church in Fort Worth and remains a leading parish in the diocese, where its low-church worship tradition stands in contrast to the Anglo-Catholic practice of most other parishes in the diocese. St. Andrew’s achieved parish status in 1896, and the congregation moved into its current home, at 917 Lamar Street, in 1912.

One of Worley’s predecessors at St. Andrew’s was the Rev. Jeffrey Steenson, who became Bishop of the Rio Grande in 2005. In 2012 Steenson became the founding ordinary of the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of Saint Peter in the United States. Steenson retired as ordinary in late 2015, and teaches at Saint Paul Seminary School of Divinity in Minnesota.

Adapted from a Diocese of Fort Worth announcement


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