Jim Hobby

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Bishop Hobby comes most recently from Thomasville, Ga., where he was Rector of Trinity Anglican Church. He grew up in a Southern Baptist family that had transplanted itself to Northern states as his father followed various General Electric job transfers.

He attended evangelical churches and enrolled in a Massachusetts seminary, anticipating a ministry in Baptist or similar churches. That changed upon a single visit to an Episcopal church, where he and his wife, Shari, "fell in love with the liturgy and the sense of history and connectedness."

The couple was confirmed into the Episcopal Church within a year, and Jim transferred in 1983 to Trinity Episcopal School for Ministry, an evangelical seminary in Ambridge.

Soon after graduating, he became a pastor in 1986 serving St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Monongahela, PA and St. John's Episcopal Church in Donora, PA, two Mon Valley communities struggling with the loss of steel-industry jobs. Bishop Hobby, who did not grow up in a blue-collar setting, said it was there that he learned the hard way about the need to learn and respect the culture of parishioners.

After assisting at a large parish in Darien, Connecticut, he began sending inquiries to other churches about possible pulpit positions. He put the responses in two piles -- those that interested him and those that didn't -- before sensing an "almost audible" message from God: "I don't get to pick and choose the people I'm interested in loving."

He ended up at one of the churches from the "no" pile, a medium-sized congregation in Tallahassee, Fla. After eight years, he went to work for a missions agency, Global Teams, then returned to parish work in Thomasville.

When the Pittsburgh position became open, Bishop Hobby said he resisted, wanting to stay in Georgia near his children and grandchildren. But as with his move to Tallahassee, he concluded God wanted him to be open to the possibility.

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