Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary

Robert F. Jones papers 1935-1980



Descriptive Summary

Creator: Jones, Robert F.
Title: Robert F. Jones papers
Dates: 1935-1980
Abstract Robert Franklin Jones (1911-1980) was a Presbyterian minister in Texas who primarily served the First Presbyterian Church of Fort Worth. The Robert F. Jones papers are comprised of correspondence, creative works, and printed material (1935-1980) documenting the ministry and personal life of the Rev. Robert Franklin Jones.
Identification: 2005-003
Extent: 6 ft.
Language: Materials are in English.
Repository: Austin Seminary Archives, Stitt Library, Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary.

Biographical note

Robert Franklin Jones (1911-1980) was a Presbyterian minister in Texas who primarily served the First Presbyterian Church of Fort Worth. Jones was born March 31, 1911 in Graham, Texas. He attended Austin College in Sherman, Texas, receiving a BA in 1931 and then undertook a BD at Austin Presbyterian Seminary, graduating in 1934. Jones was ordained May 13, 1934 in the Presbytery of Central Texas.

Jones served as pastor in churches in Georgetown, Coleman, and Harlingen, Texas before being called as pastor of the First Presbyterian Church, Fort Worth on September 9, 1944, where he served until his retirement in 1979. During Jones’ ministry, the congregation’s membership grew rapidly. In the late 1940’s and early 1950’s, a new church facility was planned and constructed just west of central downtown, at 1000 Penn Street. The congregation worshipped for the first time in their new sanctuary on December 23, 1956. In 1961, when organic union was permitted between churches of the PCUS and UPCUSA denominations, the First Presbyterian Church of Fort Worth became the nation’s largest Union Church.

Throughout his ministry, Jones was active in preaching and Christian Education. In 1949, the Women of the Church of First Presbyterian Church of Fort Worth established a lectureship exclusively dedicated to the field of Christian education at the Austin Presbyterian Seminary in Jones’ honor. In the 1960’s and 1970’s, Jones participated in Fort Worth-area television and radio ministry programs, including the “Sunday School of the Air” and the “Protestant Hour.”

Jones was active in the Synod of Texas and served on the Austin Presbyterian Seminary Board of Trustees. He chaired the PCUS General Assembly’s Board of Christian Education from 1968-73, and was nominated, but not elected, for the moderator position at the 1975 General Assembly. Jones was also active in the community, serving on the board of several Fort Worth community organizations. He also participated in interdenominational organizations; he was a board member of the National Conference of Christians and Jews and President of the Fort Worth Area Council of Churches. In 1972, he served as a representative to the 1972 National Council of Churches General Assembly.

Jones married Annetta Weatherby in 1936. They had no children.

References: First Presbyterian Church of Ft. Worth, “Our History,” online at


Scope and Content Note

The Robert F. Jones papers are comprised of correspondence, creative works, and printed material (1935-1980) documenting the ministry and personal life of the Rev. Robert Franklin Jones. The papers are arranged into five series, the bulk of the material representing the last two decades of Jones’ career.

Series I: Ministerial Papers—Sermons, Notes for Services, Addresses is the largest series and is comprised of Jones’ sermons and addresses. The bulk of the material in this series are Jones’ typed text or handwritten notes for sermons, funeral and wedding services, and addresses to groups within his congregation, although addresses to community groups and traveling sermons are also represented. The second series also contains copies of Sunday sermons which were printed during the 1950’s through 1970’s thanks to a donation by a member of the First Presbyterian Church. Few sermons are extant from Jones’ career prior to his installation at the First Presbyterian Church of Fort Worth.

Series I: Ministerial Papers— Teaching (Lessons, Training Courses, Seminars) is comprised of notes and texts from Jones’ educational activities, including Bible Study lectures, lessons, and seminars he led in the First Presbyterian Church and in the community, including scripts from his radio ministry.

The Ministerial Papers series also includes a small amount of correspondence.

Records relating to the First Presbyterian Church comprise Series II: First Presbyterian Church, Ft. Worth. Documents relating to the planning, construction, and funding of the 1000 Penn Street sanctuary can be found in this series, as well as documents regarding staffing and policies at the church. This series also contains documents relating to controversies within the congregation during the late 1960’s over the Confession of 1967 and the National Council of Churches, which is closed due to its personal nature.

Series III: Presbyterian Governance (Presbytery, Synod and General Assembly) includes documents pertaining to Jones’ nomination as Moderator of the PCUS General Assembly for 1975.

Series IV: Personal Papers contains Jones’ biographical sketches and some personal records.

Series V: Printed Material contains miscellaneous published material which Jones collected during his career, including worship and preaching resources, notes from a seminar on urban churches, and official publications of the UPCUSA and National Council of Churches.


Restrictions

Access Restrictions

Correspondence relating to the 1967 Confession of Faith is restricted through 2030. See archivist for details.

Materials are available by appointment only. Contact the archivist for details.


Index Terms

Personal Names
Jones, Robert Franklin, 1911-
Organizations
First Presbyterian Church (Fort Worth, Tex.)
Presbyterian Church in the U.S.--General Assembly.
Subjects
Race relations--Religious aspects--Christianity.
Presbyterian Church--Clergy.
Sermons, American.

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Robert F. Jones papers, 1935-1980, Austin Seminary Archives, Stitt Library, Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary


Detailed Description of the Collection

Series I: Ministerial Papers

Box
B095 Sermons, Notes for Services, Addresses
Sub-series Abstract:
Note: Sermons are often filed under the date where they were first preached. Jones noted on each sermon if it was preached at other times or other locations. Some sermons include printed material that Jones kept with the sermon manuscript and notes.
Sermons and notes for services:
Working copies:
Georgetown, TX, 1935-1936
Coleman, TX, 1938-1944
Fort Worth, First Presbyterian Church, 1949-1952, 1956-1957, 1969-1975
Typescript sermons with notes [unknown location],1963-1980 and undated
Box
B096 Typescript sermons with notes [unknown location], 1963-1980 and undated
Typescript sermons [FPC Fort Worth and unknown locations],1944-1978, undated
Printed sermons [FPC Fort Worth], 1955-1979 and undated
Sermon notes and printed material, 1965-1980 and undated
Special Sermons:
Miscellaneous sermons:
“Stewardship Studies”, 1943-1944
“The Meaning of Preparation,” part of the Preparatory Service for World-wide Communion [includes service bulletin], October 6, 1945
“The Prospects for Church Union” [incomplete], May 28, 1953
“World Day of Prayer – Adoration,” February 25, 1955
“Presbyterian Polity and the Administration of a Church,” 1963
“The Hymnody of the Protestant Reformation,” January 18, 1970
“Bicentennial Worship with Communion” [service bulletin], July 4, 1976
“Procedure for Service of Ordination and Installation,” November 26, 1978
Christmas and Christmas Eve sermons/services:
1937-1949
1951-1966
1970-1978
Christmas Essay [newspaper clipping], Ft. Worth Press, undated
Lenten/Holy Week sermons:
1939-1956
Box
B098 1968-1973
1974-1977 and undated
New Year’s Eve sermons, 1950-1951
Weddings [service bulletins, notes, sermons], 1973- 1980 and undated
Funerals [sermons, notes and service bulletins] [Note: most of these are undated, with the name(s) of the persons for whom the service was performed written by Jones at the top], 1949-1980 and undated
Installation services, 1958-1968
Travelling sermons [include special services], 1941-1959
Box
B099 Travelling sermons [includes special services and some addresses], 1960-1979
Addresses:
Youth groups [primarily at FPC Fort Worth], 1942-1966, and undated
Fellowship dinners [also see Bible Study Lessons below]:
“The Questions That Jesus Asked – The Questions That Were Asked of Jesus,” January 17, 1946
1950-1955
Ephesians studies (#1-4), January 1955
“The Home” series, 1956
1956-1964
Box
B100 Community organizations,1949-1964, 1978 and undated
Garden parties and other gatherings [including 1949 garden party schedule], 1949-1954, 1978 and undated
Television and radio addresses:
1949-1954
“Sunday School of the Air” Scripts, 1960
Retreats and Conferences,addresses], 1951-1959, 1974
Women of the Church / Women’s Auxiliary [mostly at FPC Fort Worth], 1951-1979
Presbytery and Synod Conferences:
Presbytery Stewardship Conference, 1953
Synod Men’s Conference, 1963
Box
B101 Colleges and seminaries, 1953-1975 and undated
Men’s groups—First Presbyterian Church of Ft. Worth, 1953-1965
School of Missions, #1-4, 1955
Stewardship rallies and dinners, 1955-1964
College groups, 1957-1963
Summer School of Christian Living:
“Growth in Prayer” / “Growing In Prayer,” study #1-4, Fall 1957
1962-1976
Major Mission Fund, undated
On the ministry [also includes papers]:
“The Work of the Minister,” undated
“A Ministry to Fulfill,” undated
“A Parish to Administer,” undated
“A Gospel to Proclaim”:
Notes, undated
Box
B102 Printed material / sources, 1957-1962, 1975-1980 and undated
“Occupied with Preaching,” undated
Miscellaneous addresses:
“So You’re Going to Make a Speech,” 1951
“The Crisis of Intentionality,” undated
“The Wife of Sisyphus,” undated
“Introduction to Goal Setting,” undated
“Who are the Singles?,” undated
Teaching (Lessons, Training Courses, Seminars):
Bible Study Lessons [some overlap with School of Christian Living, Fellowship Supper Addresses, and other files listed above]:
1949
“Great Bible Prayers,” 1950-1951 and undated
“The Bible Speaks to our Day,” 1951
“Introduction to the Study of the Bible,” Course 120a, 1951
1952-1953
“Acts – Words About Deeds,” 1954
Elective course on prayer, 1954-1956
Hebrews, 1955 and undated
Box
B103 1956
“Bible Homes and Family Life Today,” 1956
“Jesus Teaching on Citizenship,” 1957
“Our Christian Beliefs,” 1958
"Luke," 1958
1958-1959
“The Spirit Speaks to the Church,” 1959
“Let There be Light,” 1959
“Eight Wednesday Evenings with the Bible,” 1961
1977, undated
“The Ten Commandments,” undated
Evangelism Training and Addresses:
Notes on Visitation Evangelism, November 1947
Evangelism for Youth, July 1949
“Evangelism” / “You Can Witness,” 1951
Visitation evangelism (one night instruction), January 1953
Visitation evangelism, October 1955
Efficient visiting [printed material], October 1955
Box
B104 “The Care of New Members,” April 1957
“Biblical Evangelism,” April 1961
“Pre-Assembly Conference on Evangelism,” April 1964
“Structure of Evangelism in the Church,” February 1965
Program of Visitation Evangelism, undated
“Youth to Youth Visitation,” Lesson 1 undated
Andrew Club Evangelism Training, 1959-1980 and undated
Union Theological Seminary, lecture notes:
“The Person and Work of Christ,” Douglas Horton, 1951
“Practical Theology,” Douglas V. Steere, 1951
“Questions the Gospel Answers,” Bishop Kennedy, 1951
Church officer training [includes historical data on FPC Fort Worth], 1951, 1953, undated
Courses for communicants, 1953-1979 and undated
Adult Leaders/Church Workers Workshop, 1957-1963, 1973
Maj-Jo Class, circa 1957 and undated
Visitation Training, 1965, 1971
Marriage Enrichment Seminars, undated
Baptism Seminars, undated
Panel discussion on World Council of Churches, undated
Lesson notes, undated
Empty envelopes for lessons and sermons, 1942-1958
Box
B095 Correspondence:
Incoming letters, 1960-1973
Telegrams, January 1969 and undated
Pastoral letter, September 9, 1973
Lakeview Presbyterian Church, 1979



Series II: First Presbyterian Church, Ft. Worth

Box
B105 Church Planning Council, 1947
New Church Building:
Willet Stained Glass:
Contract and Correspondence, 1952-1967 and undated
Box
D035 Photographs of stained glass windows from other churches and potential designs, undated
Box
FF/5 Architectural drawings
Blueprint of chancel, pulpit and communion table, April 25, 1955
Chapel elevation drawing showing donor names, June 14, 1956
Memorial plaque design (CF-16), December 18, 1962
Sanctuary Memorial Windows [drafted list of memorial names],undated
Box
B105 Elevations (clipping), undated
Construction:
Correspondence and minutes [includes discussion of the symbols in the new chapel and a list of items encased in the cornerstone], 1955-1961 and undated
Box
FF/5 Architectural drawings of communion table and pulpit, separated from correspondence:
CF-4 through CF-7, August 30, 1956
CF-15, April 27, 1960
Box
B105 Plat, new church location, undated
Donors and memorials, 1957-1959 and undated
Box
FF/5 Chapel elevation drawing showing donor names, June 14, 1956
Box
D035 Photograph undated
Box
B105 Fundraising Campaigns:
Building Fund Program (correspondence and scrapbook material) (1 of 2), 1952-1955
Box
D045a Building Fund Program (correspondence and scrapbook material) (2 of 2), 1952-1955
Brochures [include church history information], 1955-1973 and undated
Centennial Fund Committee, ca. 1973
Weddings:
Music and facility use for weddings [includes printed material and publications],1953-1973 and undated
Detail forms and notes, 1980 and undated
Service bulletins, outlines, and newsletters:
Men’s Monthly Messenger, May 1958
Service of Commemoration and Thanksgiving, Semi-Centennial Anniversary of the relationship between the FPC and the UPCUSA and the PCUSA, January 30, 1966
Service of Ordination and Installation, 1972
Service of Groundbreaking, 1976
Home Dedication Service, undated
Staff:
Policies, job descriptions, minutes, notes, 1962-1978 and undated
Hiring Decisions—Music Director, 1968-1969 and undated
Senior Minister job description, 1979
Report on 9th Grade Sunday School Program, 1964
1967 Confession of Faith:
Clippings, 1966-1967
Box
B110 Correspondence (including Lay Group) [RESTRICTED through 2030], 1967
Box
D045a Notes, 1967
Board of Trustees:
Correspondence, 1965-1975
1969 Board of Trustees Resolution:
Clippings, 1969
Box
F050a Resolution as distributed, annotated copy (Jones’ notes?), response as distributed, 1969
Resolution as distributed, annotated copy (Jones’ notes?), response as distributed, 1969
Notes, reports, and drafts, 1968-1969
Correspondence, 1969-1970
Responses to the Board of Trustees mailing, 1969
General Assembly controversies, Committee on Church and Race:
Box
B110 Correspondence [RESTRICTED through 2030], 1969-1971 and undated
Box
F050a Notes and related material, 1971 and undated
Will of Margaret Caldwell [leaving part of her estate to FPC Fort Worth], 1971
“New Directions for the First Presbyterian Church,” 1976-1977 and undated
Attendance ledger, “Ritual of Friendship,” August 26, 1979



Series III: Presbyterian Governance (Presbytery, Synod and General Assembly)

Box
B095 Presbytery and related correspondence, 1960-1969
General Assembly 1975 [Note: Jones was nominated for moderator this year]:
General Assembly nomination, 1973-1975
Editorial, Presbyterian Survey,April – June 1975
Correspondence,April – July 1975
Commissioner lists,1975
Special Moderators Fund, circa 1975



Series IV: Personal Papers

Box
B095 Biographical data forms, 1962-1974
Financial records, 1969-1973 and undated



Series V: Printed Material

Box
B105 UPCUSA, National Council of Churches publications:
Interpreter’s Manual [includes policy statements on controversial topics],1961-1962
The Church’s Response to the Black Manifesto, by Dr. Gayraud S. Wilmore, Jr., circa 1968
The Church and Homosexuality, 1978
Pamphlets and brochures, 1959-1975 and undated
Programs: Services at other churches, 1962, 1964
Clippings and notes, 1965 and undated
Christian Ministry, 1969, 1978
Urban Church Symposium:
Planning for the Urban Church, May 1976
Self-study Guide for the Urban Church, circa 1976
Notes and handouts, circa 1976
Worship resources [includes some notes], undated
Pastoral careundated