Partner Kenneth Woods
General Theological Seminary, 440 W 21st St, New York, NY 10011
Christ Church Cathedral, 45 Church St, Hartford, CT 06103
Central Cemetery Brookfield Center, Fairfield County, Connecticut, USA
Clinton Jones (November 8, 1916 - June 3, 2006) had a personal interest and engagement in ministry with sexual minorities and he pursued it since the 1960s. Canon Jones' research on homosexuality spurred the formation of a special task force at the Greater Hartford Council of Churches in 1965 that included clergy as well as psychologists and other social service professionals. This task force was originally called the Homosexuality Committee but soon changed its name to Project H.
He was born in Brookfield on November 8, 1916, the son of Clinton R. Jones and Harriette E. Morehouse. He graduated from Danbury High School in 1934 and Bard College (Columbia University) in 1938 and the General Theological Seminary in N.Y.C. in 1941. He was ordained in the Episcopal Diocese of Connecticut on June 15, 1941, and pastored at St. James Church in New London from 1941 to 1945. The following year he served as a chaplain for the U.S. Maritime Service. He became assistant minister of Christ Church Cathedral in Hartford in 1946 and two years later became Canon, a position he held until his retirement in 1986. He was then named a "Life Canon." He joined the Greater Hartford Regional Ministry that serves four small churches in 1990.
As Canon Jones and the Project H team continued their research into homosexuality they became aware of the George W. Henry Foundation in New York. Founded in 1947, the foundation was led by Dr. Alfred Gross who provided counseling and assistance to homosexual persons. After inviting Dr. Gross to come to Hartford to talk with them about his work, a Hartford chapter of the George W. Henry Foundation was established.
In 1968-69, Canon Jones studied counseling at the Postgraduate Center for Mental Health in New York City and completed an S.T.M. degree at New York Theological Seminary. He subsequently began a counseling ministry at the Cathedral as well as gathering an extensive library on homosexuality there. In his ministry he came into contact with a number of transgendered persons. Along with Dr. George Higgins, professor at Trinity College, Canon Jones and other professionals developed an extensive program of counseling and psychological services for persons seeking gender reassignment. The "Twenty Club," a support group for transgendered persons was created at the Cathedral and met for more than 30 years and has since continued at the GLBT Community Center.
Widely known for his expertise of issue of sexual orientation and gender identity, Canon Jones served on a special Task Force on the Church and the Homophile for the House of Bishops of the Episcopal Church from 1972 to 1975. He continued to serve on the diocesan Project H Committee, renamed the Committee on Sexual Minorities in 1980, until his retirement in 1986.
When persons in his congregation told hold him stories about mistreatment and abuse of homosexual prisoners, Canon Jones began a prison ministry in which he went to the prison to interview and counsel gay prisoners every two to three weeks over 20 years.
He published three books: What About Homosexuality, Thomas Nelson & Co., 1972; Homosexuality and Counseling, Fortress Press, 1974; and Understanding Gay Relatives and Friends, Seabury Press, 1978. In addition, he published and presented many articles and research papers.
The Friends of Christ Church Cathedral inaugurated an annual Canon Clinton R. Jones Award at a dinner honoring Jones' forty years of active ministry at the Cathedral on November 12, 2005.
Canon Clinton Jones died at his home on June 3, 2006, survived by his partner of more than 40 years, Kenneth Woods. He is buried in the Central Cemetery in Brookfield.
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