The Rev. Jason Shelby, Rector


The Rev. Jason Shelby was born and raised in northeast Indiana, in a crossroads village of twelve homes. In high school Jason was very active in the theater department and had roles in all the staged plays his sophomore through senior years. During his junior year, he and his best friend joined the Indiana National Guard, which allowed 17-year-olds to join with their parents’ signed permission. Jason did his basic training during summer vacation between his junior and senior years and did his advanced training when he graduated from high school. He was trained as an anti-tank gunner and is proud that during his six years in the guard he kept Indiana safe from tanks. Jason took a gap year after high school (a wonderful euphemism that didn’t exist at that time), then attended Ball State University for one semester before taking three more gap years. During that time he worked in a factory, doing everything from loading trucks, to research and development, to answering phones for customer service. He went back to college in the fall of 1999 and went to work part-time at the factory. Jason attended Indiana University at Fort Wayne, where he majored in History and minored in English. During his time there he was inducted into the Phi Kappa Phi honor society and graduated with distinction in 2003.

In the background of all this was the strong feeling that he was being called to the ministry; it began when he was twelve when he thought he could give a sermon as well or better than the priest. It grew from there, to the point that in the Fall of 2003, he asked his Bishop, Bishop Ed Little, if he could begin the discernment process for the priesthood; Bishop Little gave his blessing, and a year later Jason was in Sewanee, Tennessee, attending the School of Theology at The University of the South. He was ordained to the diaconate on the Feast of St. Thomas, December 21, 2006, and to the priesthood on September 11, 2007. Jason served in Louisiana and Mississippi for 16 of his 17 years as an ordained priest, from New Orleans up the river to the Mississippi Delta. During that time he was active in the diocesan summer camp, where he was a co-director of a junior high session for eight years, as well as several community organizations.

Jason met Jennifer in the spring of 2017; Jennifer is a native of La Mesa (San Diego) and came to Mississippi through Teach for America. Jennifer was hesitant to date Jason at first; he was six years older (that’s not a big difference), he had a son from his previous marriage, and he was a priest. The first two made her a little nervous and the third was just…weird. She was a brand new Episcopalian, having just been baptized and confirmed in 2015, and she worried she might not be religious or Christian enough for Jason. He replied that her work with underserved children in the poorest region of the poorest state was far more gospel-like than his. They fell in love, got married, and had two children within the space of three years.

During the third COVID wave (or fourth – it’s all a blur), Jason and Jennifer decided it was time for them to be close to one of their families: Jason’s in Indiana or Jennifer’s in California. The Holy Spirit guided them to St. Francis in Palos Verdes, and they knew then that they were home.

Jason loves to do all things arts and crafts with his children, who are all budding artists; he also enjoys reading, Star Wars, cooking, and playing video games. He and Jennifer will someday have the time and energy to visit all of the amazing places in Los Angeles and Southern California, but for now, take their kids to the park and, when feeling froggy, to a local Mexican restaurant. Jason has a deep love for parish ministry and is thankful for all the people who enjoy being on councils, boards, and committees.