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The Rev. Shirley Jones is a busy woman: minister, mother of three grown children and a public speaker who is a member of many boards.

And for her tireless work in the community, members of the Church of the Religious Science recently gave a dinner in her honor. She received recognition Oct. 20 for her involvement and contributions to Ogden and will receive the congregation's appreciation for what she has done.The Christian minister has been head of the Ogden church since 1987. She currently is a member of the boards of the YCC, Mission 2000, Weber County Substance Abuse and Ogden Ministerial Association. She also writes a column for the local newspaper.

Money raised from the $25-a-plate dinner has been donated to the church building fund. Jones said the church currently has about $30,000, and she hopes to raise at least $100,000 to either build a new church or buy a building where her congregation can gather.

Fewer than 100 people are members of the local Church of the Religious Science, and they now hold their services at the Newgate Mall meeting room.

Jones was born and raised in Louisiana and moved on to Los Angeles where she taught elementary school for 16 years. The past three years she served as a principal.

But she left her teaching career and became a minister because she said she had a calling. "I felt a sense of giving," she explained.

Jones said she was glad to leave the hectic life of Southern California and move to a slower-paced lifestyle in Utah. "I love Utah, the beauty of it," she said. "I'm really enjoying my stay here."

But Jones said living in Utah also has its challenges, especially for an outsider. She said people are friendly enough but refuse to let outsiders join in their inner circles, which makes her feel that Utah is a closed community.

"Here in Utah it's a challenge to be a female minister because I find at times that people don't recognize women as religious leaders," she said.