Bishop Mathes brings to the diocese an uncommon mix of pastoral ministry and nonprofit administration experience. Before entering seminary, he worked in educational development where he helped raise more than $10 million for The Webb School, his alma mater, and directed a successful $4.2 million campaign for St. Andrew's-Sewanee, an Episcopal school in Sewanee, Tennessee.
His passion for education and personal growth transferred to a passion for parish life when he became rector of The Episcopal Church of St. James-the-Less in Northfield, Illinois. During his seven years there, church attendance doubled, school participation tripled and the congregation founded a community outreach program for the elderly and disabled.
In 2001, Bishop Mathes was named canon to the ordinary for the Diocese of Chicago, where he directed the Department of Deployment and Congregational Development. He secured a $1.6 million grant from the Lilly Endowment to establish a clergy mentoring program. He also helped guide 130 congregations through a strategic planning process.
On November 13, 2004, Jim was elected to serve as the fourth bishop of San Diego and was consecrated in March of 2005.