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    Chapel of Hope dedicates hall to historical chaplain

    Chapel of Hope dedicates hall to historical chaplain

    Photo By Joseph Schmitt | Lt. Cmdr. Corey Thornton details the life of George Jones as a chaplain during a...... read more read more



    Story by Joseph Schmitt 

    Commander, Fleet Activities Yokosuka

    YOKOSUKA, Japan - U.S. Navy chaplains and religious program specialists gathered with command leadership, Japanese priests and community members to dedicate Yokosuka’s Chapel of Hope fellowship hall in memory of Chaplain George Jones, June 19.

    Jones was the chaplain on Commodore Matthew Perry’s historical mission to Japan.

    “Shiro Abe, the president of the legacy of Chaplain Jones Japan, contacted us and wanted to work with us to dedicate part of the Chapel of Hope in Jones’ memory,” said Lt. Cmdr. Corey Thornton, Chapel of Hope chaplain. “We had a lot of our Japanese religious community members and friends join us here today to dedicate the hall and to pay tribute to 150 years of Chaplains in Japan.”

    Ryoko Umino from Kurihama Church unveiled a painting of Jones during the ceremony. The painting depicts Jones with Commodore Perry’s famous black ship in the background. A similar painting originally hung in the old chapel more than 50 years ago. That building was torn down and the painting lost. Saisei Koizumi, a locally renowned painter from Kamakura, created the new painting.

    “It was difficult, it has been a long time and we didn’t have a very good copy of the original,” said Koizumi through a translator. “I made an outline copy and worked hard to get it done in time. I hope they enjoy the painting.”

    The fellowship hall is the main gathering room for the chapel. It hosts many of the religious and community events for the chapel.

    “It makes sense that we would dedicate this room,” said Thornton. “It represents people coming together and enjoying fellowship. That’s part of why we remember Jones, he helped bring our two communities and our two nations together. It’s a friendship we still enjoy and this place embodies all of those things.”

    In an essay Thornton read during the ceremony, he explained more about Jones life as a chaplain: “…Jones was a graduate of Yale College in 1823 and went on to found his own school in Washington, D.C."

    "His naval career began two years later, when he was assigned as secretary to Commodore Charles Morris aboard the frigate USS Brandywine. He continued teaching on board, instructing the midshipmen in the art and science of navigation. The Brandywine sailed to the Mediterranean, where Jones transferred to another frigate, the USS Constitution. When his commission expired in 1828, he returned to Yale where he worked as a tutor as well as publishing his first book, "Sketches of Naval Life with Notices of Men, Manners and Scenery on the Shores of the Mediterranean in a Series of Letters from the Brandywine and Constitution frigates."

    "Jones was ordained an Episcopal minister in 1830 and made rector of the church in Middletown, Conn. In 1832 he entered naval service again and was made acting chaplain aboard the USS United States, which was the flagship of the Mediterranean squadron. He received his commission as a chaplain April 20, 1833, while serving under Commodore Patterson and then transferred to the USS Deleware in March 1834. Upon his return to America from his last deployment with the Delaware, he took on the task of pressing for the establishment of a naval school, even going so far as to talk directly to the secretary of the Navy. "

    "From 1840 to 1845 he served aboard several ships. By that time, his efforts in promoting the development of a naval school paid off when the U.S Naval Academy opened in Annapolis, Md. Jones headed up the English department at the new school and in 1851, he became its first chaplain. Jones’ greatest diplomatic mission came in the early 1850s, when Commodore Matthew Perry hand picked him to serve as his chaplain on his famous mission to Japan. He served not only in a ministerial capacity but also as a naturalist and chronicler, contributing significantly to the third volume of Commodore Perry’s mission report. "

    "In 1857, Jones resumed his post as chaplain at the Naval Academy until his retirement in 1862. He later served as a volunteer nurse and chaplain at several hospitals during the Civil War. He was serving as a chaplain at the U.S. Naval Asylum in Philadelphia when he passed Jan. 22, 1870.”



    Date Taken: 06.19.2013
    Date Posted: 07.10.2013 03:55
    Story ID: 109956

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