Bishop’s Address of 1908

The Rt. Rev. Cleland Kinloch Nelson
Atlanta, Ga., January 31, 1908.

To the Clergy and Laity of the Eighty-Sixth Annual Convention of the Diocese of Georgia:

Dear Brethren: For the sake of continuity of record you would expect of me at this time some report of the administration of the Diocese of Georgia for the term of seven months following the Eighty-fifth Annual Convention.

Cleland Kinloch NelsonPermit me first to all to state how sincere is my sorrow in parting with my people of the Southern portion of the Diocese, and how gladly I would have continued my ministrations among you had I believed that the work of the Church of Christ could have been better promoted by preserving the integrity of the Diocese of Georgia.

Now that I look back upon my attempted discharge of the varied duties of the Bishop of the undivided Diocese, I wonder at my temerity in continuing such a load as I was carrying; and the action setting off a new Diocese was taken none too soon in the interest of the Church and of my efficiency in that behalf. It should be remembered that the number of Stations in the new Diocese is the same as there were in the entire field when I came to you in 1892, while the immediate duties connected therewith are much more numerous; and as for the first time I am able to make a close survey of my more limited field of administration, I find the opportunities undeveloped far more numerous than I had conceived.

Division of the Diocese.

Following the final order for division taken on May 15th, 16th and 17th, 1907, the Petition to the General Convention for its consent to such division was duly prepared and presented, first in the House of Bishops and concurred in by the House of Deputies on October 7th, 1907.

Under the provisions of General Canon 49 I issued, on November 6th, 1907, a call for the Primary Convention of the new Diocese at Christ Church, Macon, Ga., on December 4th and 5th, 1907, and at the same time notified all the Parishes and Missions through their respective Clergy that in the exercise of the privilege of Article V, Section II, I elected to administer and become attached to the new Diocese then to be formed. This action on my part placel the Diocese of Georgia under obligation to elect a Bishop for that Diocese.

The New Diocese.

The conclusion of this legislation was reached in Christ Church, Macon, Ga., on December 4th and 5th, 1907, when the Ecclesiastical Territory, set off and represented by a majority of the Clergymen and Lay Delegates from that section, adopted the title of the “Diocese of Atlanta,” accepted the Constitution and Canons of the General Convention and elected its Officers and Committees. I then and there formally announced that I would administer said new Diocese.

The members of the Standing Committee of the Diocese of Georgia, being a majority of the whole Standing Committee before division, were duly notified of these actions, and upon assembling appointed as its Finance Committee Messrs. H. C. Cunningham, William K. Miller and Edward S. Elliott, to whom, in accordance with the Order of Court, we, the Bishop and the Corporation, transferred to the Finance Committee of the Standing Committee of the Diocese of Georgia the property as agreed upon for the purposes of division ; we presented to them an accounting of the funds in our hands and delivered the securities for the investments of such funds and the cash balance to them appertaining, on January 4th, 1908, this being the date mutually agreed upon by both parties. The accounts, however, were closed on December 1st, 1907.

I did further as Bishop and Trustee transmit to Edward S. Elliott, Esq., Secretary of the Corporation of the Diocese of Georgia, on January 22nd, 1908, all deeds, policies, books and documents, as well as archives appertaining to the Churches and Missions in the Southern Diocese, to wit : the Diocese of Georgia. From the above list are to be excepted for the time being the titles and accounts of St. Mary’s Church, Augusta, St. Augustine’s Church, Savannah, and St. Athanasius’ Church, Brunswick, which I held in trust, it being agreed upon that I should continue to administer these for the purpose of adjustment of certain financial features and later transfer them in fact to my successor in the Diocese of Georgia.

I append hereto the usual information in reference to my Episcopal Acts and the State of the Diocese, covering the months from May 1st to December 1st, 1907.

With the assurance of my most loving interest and praying for your guidance in the selection of your Chief Pastor and relinquishing nothing of my interest in your welfare and in the progress of the Diocese of Georgia, I am,

Affectionately yours,
Bishop of Atlanta.