St. Matthew's Episcopal Church, 8134 Mesa Dr., Austin, TX 78759
Fr. Jim Williams, MSW, M.Div.
Fr. Jim Williams is a retired Episcopal priest now serving as Assisting Clergy at St. Matthew’s. Confirmed as an Episcopalian in 1979, he was ordained in 1988 after completing the Special Studies Program at the Episcopal Seminary of the Southwest. Specializing in churches in transition, Fr. Jim served in five churches in the Austin area prior to retiring in 2004 (including as Associate Rector at St. Matthew’s, 1990 – 95). He has served as a consultant for seven other Austin Convocation churches in the past two decades.
In retirement he has expanded his long time interest in Christian spiritual disciplines and practice, especially the contemplative tradition. He is a practitioner of Centering Prayer and is open to exploring this pattern of prayer with individuals or groups at St. Matthews. He also leads visioning and goal setting retreats and workshops for church leaders and ministries.
A Master of Divinity graduate from Colgate Rochester Divinity School (1964) with a focus on civil rights and social justice, Fr. Jim was originally ordained American Baptist and served churches in New York state and Indiana. Moving back to Texas, he served in ecumenical inner city ministries in Houston and Austin in the late 1960’s and early ‘70’s. In addition he directed the five state VISTA regional training program in Austin, 1969-70.
After receiving a Masters in Social Work (UT, 1975) with a concentration in Community Organization and planning, he served on the staff of the Dean of Medicine at the University of Texas Medical School (1974-81), Galveston, where he facilitated a team that greatly increased the admission, retention and graduation of minority medical students over a seven year period.
Coming back to Austin in 1981, he was Program Officer for the Institute for Higher Education Management at the UT System level until 1985. He taught Community Organization as a Senior Lecturer at the UT Graduate School of Social Work, 1985-90. He also has served as a consultant for organization development and planned change in a number of churches in the Diocese of Texas and in various academic, health, and social service organizations from the late 1970’s through the 90’s.
Fr. Jim was born and raised near Beaumont, Texas, and graduated from Lamar University (1957) with a BA in English Literature. He is married to Barbara and they have three adult children.