Sixth Bishop of Georgia, 1954-1971
Albert Rhett Stuart was born in 1905 in Washington. Albert Rhett Stuart was consecrated as the sixth bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Georgia on October 20, 1954 in St. Pauls, Augusta. He had been elected during the diocesan convention of 1954 when seventeen persons were nominated to succeed Bishop Barnwell. Even with the large field of candidates, Stuart was elected on the second ballot. He was then serving as the Dean of Christ Church Cathedral, New Orleans, and had previously served as rector of the Church of the Redeemer in Greenwood, South Carolina and as rector of St. Michael’s, Charleston. Henry Louttit, recalls in his booklet, Saints of the Diocese of Georgia how Bishop Stuart was often the only white voice for integration in Savannah willing to speak on TV. He remembers him speaking up for integration on a visit to Trinity Episcopal Church in Stateboro saying, “This is a free country. You can belong to any kind of church you wish, but the Episcopal Church has never asked anyone why they were coming to the church. We are not starting asking people now. This church is open to anyone who wishes to worship.”
In 1957, Stuart dedicated a newly acquired Diocesan House on East Bay Street in Savannah as the diocesan headquarters. When Bishop Stuart was consecrated in 1954, there were 8,904 communicants in the Episcopal Diocese of Georgia. He served as diocesan bishop through 1971, by which time the diocese had grown to 12,180 communicants. He died two years later and was buried on Holy Saturday of that year, April 21, 1973. He was succeeded as bishop by G. Paul Reeves.