Today the Executive Council of the Episcopal Church elected the Rev. Dr. James B. Simons, Rector of St. Michael’s in the Valley, Ligonier, as its newest member.

The 38-member Executive Council serves as a board of directors of the Episcopal Church between sessions of the General Convention, which meets every three years.

“I’m honored to be asked to serve the church in such a significant capacity,” said Dr. Simons, adding, “I am also pleased the Executive Council has chosen someone from among the dioceses that are currently rebuilding. In Pittsburgh we have learned that people with differing views can work together to bring all people to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.”

This new appointment tops a list of responsibilities Dr. Simons has assumed at the national level of the Episcopal Church.

At the 2009 General Convention, he became Chair of the House of Deputies Dispatch of Business Committee, a gatekeeper for the flow of convention business. He has been a deputy to the General Convention seven times. He has just concluded nine years as a member of the President of the House of Deputies’ Council of Advice, having served in that position under two House presidents.

“I commend the Executive Council for its excellent choice, and I am not surprised,” said Pittsburgh Bishop Kenneth L. Price, Jr., who as Secretary of the House of Bishops worked with Dr. Simons at General Convention.

The bishop added, “I am impressed at how respected he is in the larger church. I am happy that the councils of the church will benefit even more from those gifts that Jim has shared so well here with us.”

As president of the diocesan Standing Committee from October 2008 until December 2009, Dr. Simons was instrumental in directing the rebuilding the diocese after its former leaders left the Episcopal Church. He was the ranking Ecclesiastical Authority in the diocese during that time until Bishop Price was elected in October 2009.

Dr. Simons succeeds Bishop-elect Ian Douglas, who is resigning from Executive Council because of his election as Bishop of Connecticut. Dr. Douglas had been elected to the Council as a clergy representative from the House of Deputies.

Dr. Simons will serve the remainder of the term which expires after General Convention in 2012. He will continue as Rector at St. Michael’s rector, a position he has held since 1988.