Former detective new Holy Trinity pastor

Claudia Loucks
The Rev. Andrew Ainley is the new pastor at Holy Trinity Episcopal Church in Geneseo.

It’s all things new for the congregation of Holy Trinity Episcopal Church in Geneseo.

Members moved into their new church home in May of this year and a new priest was assigned to the Geneseo church in June.  The Rev. Andrew Ainley is the new pastor at Holy Trinity.

Ainley was ordained into the priesthood in June, after serving with the Duncanville, Texas Police Department for 21 years.

He said he believes he always knew he would be a minister in some form at some time in his life.

“Even as a child, a great aunt decided that I would be a minister at some point in my life,” he said.

When he graduated from college, he considered attending a Presbyterian seminary, but decided against it.  “Several years later, I again considered going, but it was not to be.  Instead, I joined the Duncanville, Texas Police Department (a suburb of Dallas) and stayed there for 21 years.”

Ainley served as a CAPERS (Crimes Against Persons) detective for 19 of the 21 years. 

“I worked homicides, suicides, sexual assaults, child abuse, and family violence,” he said.  “My specialties were child abuse, sexual assaults, and family violence.”

He is responsible for writing legislation that included the original Amber Alert system and he introduced registering sexual offenders to a United States Senator from Texas. 

He also served on the tactical unit for 13 years as well as supervising the hostage negotiation team during that time.

Ainley served the Texas Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics for 14 years at different levels, including as a regional director for the state.

In May of 2003, he was involved in a car accident and incurred injuries that ended his police career.

“After passing a Series 7 test to be a stockbroker, I decided that selling securities was not for me,” he said.  “After a short discernment period, the Lord led me through a series of events that led to my finally going to seminary.”

Ainley grew up attending a Presbyterian church.  He said one Thanksgiving evening he attended a service at an Episcopal church in Texas.

“It was at that church that I found community and a home,” he said.  

Ainley said the greatest reward he finds in serving as a priest is “loving the people.  Our tradition is based on the Biblical basis of the Bishop being the spiritual overseer and teacher within the parishes and the priest stands in for the Bishop when he cannot be in all places at the same time.  Thus, it is the job of the priest to care for the people’s spiritual lives.”

“I have spent my life doing the same thing as what a priest does, but not with the same opportunities to care,” he said. “When you work with victims of violent crimes, you are never able to see those people heal from their pain.  A priest is able to follow the person who is hurting until they are healed.”

Ainley’s education includes Justin F. Kimball High School, Dallas, Texas; bachelor’s degree in psychology from Austin College, Sherman, Texas; Master of Theological?Studies?from Nashotah House Episcopal Seminary, Nashotah, Wis.;  ordained into the Diaconate, Dec. 6, 2007, at St. Paul’s Cathedral, Peoria, by Bishop Keith Ackerman; ordained into the priesthood, June 14 at Christ Episcopal Church, Moline, by Bishop Ackerman.

“Our  short time in Geneseo has certainly proved that this is a wonderful community in which two transplants from Texas are welcome.”

“My wife, Beverly, and I have six children ranging in age from 17 to 33, which include a dentist, an engineer, an actor, one in college and two in high school.  We have two grandchildren in Texas, whom I love to spoil.  I also have an adopted granddaughter from our time at Nashotah House in Florida.  My brother is an agricultural geneticist with Dow Chemical and my sister is a pediatric trauma nurse at Children’s Hospital in Little Rock, Ark.  She is the heart transplant coordinator.”