James “Jay” Beattie Magness

James “Jay” Beattie Magness

Southwest alumnus, pastor, retired U.S. Navy captain, chaplain, and bishop suffragan for Federal Ministries. You support, encourage, teach, and lead others who are caring for prisoners, soldiers and their families, and the sick and wounded.

You claim your roots in western North Carolina being raised in Hendersonville and formed in the Episcopal Church there. You earned degrees at Western Carolina University, Seminary of the Southwest, and a doctor of ministry at Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary.

Your service in the Navy began in 1966 and included a northern port in South Viet Nam. Before retiring from the Navy in 2003, you served as command chaplain of U.S. Joint Forces Command and fleet chaplain for the U.S. Fleet Forces Command.

You have served as the canon for mission and diocesan administration in the Diocese of Southern Virginia, canon to the ordinary in the Diocese of Kentucky, and parish rector in Western North Carolina and in Southern Virginia. In 2010, the House of Bishops elected you bishop suffragan for Armed Services and Federal Ministries.

Service in the military, where there are currently 206 different faiths represented, has given you an interest in things ecumenical and pluralistic. Called to Common Mission is deeply realized in and through your office with Lutheran and Episcopal chaplains being trained together and coordinating on programs. You are recognized for your breadth of knowledge on interfaith matters, quoted as saying that military chaplaincy is “pluralism on steroids.” Your position also has oversight of federal hospitals, prisons and correctional facilities, as well as the Eucharistic communities related to military installations.

Whether praying the daily office, running a marathon, restoring an automobile, or shag dancing with your wife Carolyn, you have a life-long commitment to living out your Christian faith as an Episcopalian.  First to arrive at the office and last to leave, you are deeply committed to your call as a priest. 

In recognition of your accomplishments and your faithful and vital leadership in the church, your seminary is pleased to bestow upon you the degree of Doctor of Divinity, honoris causa.


Austin, Texas                                                                                                              September 25, 2012