Monday, March 19, 2007

Deaconess Anna E. B. Alexander

Yesterday I had the privilege of preaching and celebrating Holy Communion at Good Shepherd Episcopal Church in Pennick, Georgia. This is yet another beautiful historic church in our diocese, but it carries a different sort of significance that is worth pointing out. It was founded by a woman - a Deaconess - Anna E. B. Alexander. Yesterday, I met a member of the Alexander family who in the family tradition is still serving at Good Shepherd

Here in part is the official word from our Bishop's office about this church:

"Born circa 1865, Deaconess Alexander was the first African-American set aside as a deacon in the Episcopal Church in 1907. She founded Good Shepherd Church in rural Glynn County's Pennick community. There she was to live and teach the young boys and girls to read -- by tradition, from the Book of Common Prayer and the Bible -- in a one-room school house that was later expanded to two rooms with a loft where she lived.

"She ministered in Pennick for 53 years. Her devotion and love still mark the folk in south and northwest Glynn County. Her love and concern led to her working to help make camps possible for young white members of the diocese. . .

"These were difficult times. The diocese segregated her congregations in 1907 . . . [and] it was only in the 1950s that a woman set aside as a deaconess was recognized as being in deeacon's orders. However, her witness - wearing the distinctive dress of a deaconess, traveling by walking from Brunswick through Darien to Pennick, showing care and love for all whom she met -- represents the best in Christian witness."

I am thankful to have been invited to serve in that church. It is holy ground.

Pastor Linda
The Rev. Linda McCloud
Founding Pastor
The Episcopal Church of Our Savior at Honey Creek

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