John Hines, 1910-1997

A Call to Social Action

Bishop Hines And Archbishop Iakovos Touring Selma In 1965

Presiding Bishop Hines, on right, and Archbishop Iakavos touring Selma, Alabama in 1965.

Born October 3, 1910, John Hines grew up in the rural South Carolina community of Seneca where he attended a small Episcopal church. After completing his studies at the the University of the South, Hines graduated from the Virginia Theological Seminary, starting his ordained ministry during the Great Depression in 1933. Hines was called first to serve in St. Louis, Missouri, under the direction of Bishop William Scarlett, a prominent advocate of the Social Gospel, which emphasized the active application of Christian principles to solving society's problems. There he met and married Helen Orwig with whom he would raise four sons and a daughter.

Called to serve a large parish in Augusta, Georgia in 1937, Hines continued to disseminate the message of Christian social action learned under Bishop Scarlett. While in the deep South, he was a courageous preacher against the sin of discrimination and defended all those lacking sufficient educational, economic, political, and social resources. In Houston Hines served as rector of Christ Church throughout World War II from 1941 to 1945. At the young age of 34, he was elected bishop coadjutor of the Diocese of Texas, a position he held for a decade. Hines’ ecclesiastical building achievements proved to be unparalleled: establishing a seminary, a secondary school, a nursing home, and 41 new congregations during his term.

He continued his social activism and worked to end racial segregation and to increase the presence of active African American clergy and laity in the Church. After his consecration as bishop of Texas in 1955, he worked to integrate all the institutions and agencies of his diocese and urged advocacy for civil rights by Episcopalians. [Sources]