OBITUARY: TRACEY K. JONES, Jr (1917-2009)
He pastored Wesley Methodist Church in Singapore in the early 1950s
THE REV TRACEY JONES, JR passed away on Dec 16 in Sarasota, Florida, the United States, at the age of 92.
He served as a Methodist missionary and was Pastor of Wesley Methodist Church, Singapore for a quadrennium from April 1952 until he returned to the US in January 1955 to become Administrative Secretary for South-East Asia in the Board of Missions.
In paying tribute to him, Bishop Raymond L. Archer (Bishop of the Methodist Church in Malaysia-Singapore from 1950-56), said: “We feel honoured that headquarters should select one of our members for this top executive administrative post … a recognition of his ability both as a minister and an administrator …”
The Rev Jones played an important role in influencing the Methodist Church in America at a time when new patterns of mission emerged as colonialism was ending.
Less well known to Singapore Methodists is that he was approached to stand as a candidate for the episcopacy at the 1964 Malaysia Central Conference even though he had left Singapore a decade before. Understandably, he declined the invitation at a significant juncture of the discussions on the future of the Malaysian-Singapore autonomous church. In a recent United Methodist News Service (UMNS) report, Bishop Joel N.
Martinez, the interim top executive of the United Methodist Board of Global Ministries, refers to him as “a giant of the mission movement of the church … and gave leadership to the whole mission community … known for his global mission and his ability to communicate that vision to both laity and clergy”. This was manifest during his term as head of the United Methodist Board of Global Ministries from 1968 to 1980.
Among the last missionaries to enter China before that became impossible in the 1940s, the Rev Jones was the author of the most widely used mission study book in the history of the denomination. His 1963 book, Our Mission Today: The Beginning of a New Age, published by the mission board, sold 300,000 copies. – The Archives of The Methodist Church in Singapore and United Methodist News Service.