Lay People & Priests

This archives is built around the bishops of the Diocese of Georgia’s ten bishops. However, the mission and the ministry of the diocese has been and remains to be carried out by many faithful people, lay and ordained, who have dedicated their lives to the spread of the Gospel of Jesus Christ through the work of the congregations and institutions of this diocese. This page will be the location to gather those other stories, to share just a portion of the lives that have left their imprint of south and central Georgia.

Deaconess Anna Ellison Butler Alexander (1865-1947)
Born to recently emancipated slaves on Butler Plantation in McIntosh County, Georgia, Deaconess Alexander became the first black deaconess in The Episcopal Church. The link above is to a website devoted to her life and witness.

Jefferson Randolph Anderson (1861-1950)
The Journal of the 129th Convention of the Diocese of Georgia remembered him with the memorial, “Jefferson Randolph Anderson was a stalwart and faithful son of the Church, who rendered invaluable service to his parish, the Diocese, and the General Church. He was for fifteen years Senior Warden of Christ Church, Savannah. He represented this Diocese as a Deputy to eight General Conventions, and for seven of them (1919-1937) was Chairman of the Committee on the Dispatch of Business of The House of the Deputies, the most important position held by a layman. In the Diocese he was Treasurer of the Board of Officers of the Corporation from 1921 to 1950. It was due to his wise and unremitting care that the funds of the Diocese are on such a firm foundation. He was for thirty years a member of the Standing Committee. There is no phase of the life of the Diocese which does not owe much to his interest. A Gentleman of the old school, a man of complete integrity, a Christian in faith and character, his talents were always used in the service of His Lord. He was born in Savannah, September 4, 1861, and died there July 17, 1950. Steadfast in life, and faithful unto death.”

Mrs. J.W. Griffeth
For 25 years in the 1920s-40s, Mrs. Griffeth of Christ Church, Savannah, served as diocesan secretary of religious education. She ran Camp Reese, the summer camp program on St. Simons Island, by strength of will. Each year she traveled across the diocese to get camp and staffers alike. In his 1950 Address to Convention, Bishop Barnwell said of her, “For twenty-five years we have been relying on Mrs. Griffeth to fill this camp with young people, and she has done it because of her love for youth, and because of her wide acquaintance throughout the diocese. And now she has retired. I know of no per­son who can take her place….” Today, a dormitory at Honey Creek is named in her honor.

The Rev. F. Bland Tucker
The link above is to a webpage at this site devoted to the hymn writer and long-time rector of Christ Church, Savannah.

The Rev. Charles Benjamin Pritchett
The Journal of the 1949 diocesan convention contains this memorial, “The Reverend Charles Benjamin Pritchett was born in New Bern, North Carolina to Maria and Nathan Pritchett in 1869. He married Muriel Della Ervin in 1901. Having attended St. Augustine’s College and General Theological Seminary, he was ordained to the diaconate by Bishop Watson in the diocese of East Carolina in 1390. He came to the Diocese of Georgia in 1909 and was advanced to the priesthood by Bishop Reese in 1910. He served the Church of Our Savior, St. Mary’s, and St. Ambrose’s, Waycross, Georgia, from 1909 until his retirement in 1938. He died at his home on July 30, 1948 and was buried from his beloved church on Sunday, August 1. The Reverend Mr. Pritchett was a quiet, unobtrusive man, well beloved by all who knew him. He was the dean of ministers of his community and an influence for good. ‘Make him to he numbered with Thy Saints in glory everlasting’. Amen.”

The Rev. Philip M. Prowell-Carrington
In his 1924 address to convention, Bishop F.F. Reese said of him, the “Vicar of the Church of the Good Shepherd, Thomasville, died November 7, 1923, after a long and painful illness. This good brother came to the Diocese as a deacon in 1918 and was ordained to the priesthood in the following year. For 10 years he labored diligently and enthusiastically at the Good Shepherd, church and school, and under great difficulties and in the face of the usual antagonism to the Church from those that are without, he held his own and promoted the growth of his mission.”

Thomas Purse
The Journal of the 1917 diocesan convention contains this memorial, “Mr. Thomas Purse, who was one of the most earnest and loyal churchmen of this Diocese, was born in Savannah, Georgia, on March 19, 1874, and died at his home there on December 7, 1916, in the seventy-second year of his age. When the then mission, and now Parish, of St. Michaels and All Angels was originally founded, Mr. Purse was appointed by Bishop F. F. Reese as Junior Warden of this Mission and from that time until his death faithfully continued to serve the Mission and then the Parish in the capacity of Junior Warden and then as Vestryman. Mr. Purse also took a most sincere and faithful part in all the affairs and activities of the Diocese of Georgia and served for more than thirty years as Secretary of the Standing Committee and also as Secretary of the Board of Officers of the Corporation. His funeral services were held at the Church of St. Michaels and All Angels with the Rev. Theodore Patton, Rector, and the Rev. Ernest Risley, President of the Standing Committee, officiating. Interment was in Bonaventure Cemetery, Savannah. Mr. Purse also took a very active part in the business life of Savannah. He served for very many years as Secretary of the Savannah Board of Trade, which later became the Savannah Chamber of Commerce. It is said that in point of service he was one of the oldest of the Chamber of Commerce Secretaries in the United States. He is survived by his wife, Mrs. Elizabeth Morrison Purse, a son, Thomas Purse, Sr., and a daughter, Mrs, Elizabeth Purse Ellis. ‘Rest Eternal grant unto him, O Lord, and let Light Perpetual shine upon him.'”

The Rt. Rev. Edwin Gardner Weed, D.D., Bishop of Florida
The Diocesan Journal of 1924 contained the following on Bishop Weed, “Died January 10th, A. D. 1924. Bishop Weed was not only a near neighbor to us, but was also a native of Savannah and served as his only parish the Church of the Good Shepherd, Augusta. We cannot, therefore, but look upon him as one of our family, a dear friend, a faithful Shepherd of the flock, a Bishop who in diligence and labor spared not himself, and one who by reason of his consecrated character and his wisdom, his loving spirit, and his long experience was not only esteemed and beloved by his own people, but by all who were privileged to enjoy his friendship and association with him in the many activities of the Church’s work to which he gave his loyal and helpful service.”

The Third Bishop of Florida, and the first to be consecrated within the boundaries of the state, he was a native of Savannah, a confederate war veteran and a graduate of the University of Berlin and the General Theological Seminary. After fifteen years as rector of the Church of the Good Shepherd, Augusta, he was consecrated in St. John’s Church, Jacksonville, on August 11, 1886.

The Rev. Chauncey C. Williams
(d. 1927)
In his 1928 Bishop’s Address, Bishop Reese said, “The Rev. Chauncey C. Williams, D. D., died October 29, 1927. He was the senior priest of the Diocese and for thirty years the Rector of St Paul’s Church, Augusta, from which he resigned in 1907, retiring from the active exercise of his ministry and living at Mobile, Alabama. He was ordained deacon in 1874 and priest in 1876, serving first as assistant Minister of St Philip’s Church, Atlanta, then as Rector of Christ Church, Macon, from which parish he went to Augusta. Few of you probably who are here, knew him, so soon do we pass out of memory when we retire from active contact with our fellowmen. But it was my privilege to have known him from the time when I first came to Georgia in 1890. We were closely associated as brother priests and also in the work of the diocese for fourteen years and as friends for thirty-eight years. “No man was more honored and loved in his parish or in the diocese.” He filled from time to time every position of honor and responsibility in its gift. He possessed a lovable and attractive personality, was a devoted parish priest and pastor, a loyal Churchman of the type once considered ‘high’, but now reduced in ecclesiastical altitude by the towering elevation of those who move in the upper ranges of ‘Catholic’ Churchmanship. He was a scholarly and thoughtful theologian, and a preacher of marked ability, and a faithful friend and to the last devoted to his Diocese.” The memorial in that year’s convention journal also notes, “Dr. Willams, Senior Priest of this Diocese, died October 29, 1927; in Mobile, Alabama, where be had lived since his retirement from active work in 1907. He held the degrees of B. A. and M. A. from Trinity College, and D. D. from the University of the South. He was ordained to the Diaconate in 1874, and to the Priesthood in 1875, by Bishop Williams of Connecticut. Dr. Williams’ ministry was spent almost entirely in Georgia. First as assistant in St. Philip’s, Atlanta; then as Rector of Christ Church, Macon; and from 1877 to 1907, as Rector of St. Paul’s Church, Augusta. He was greatly honored and loved both in Parish and in Diocese. During his ministry he held every position of honor and responsibility in the gift of this Diocese, and was for nearly forty years a close friend of Bishop Reese.”

The Rev. David Watson Winn
The link above is to a page devoted to this Rector of Christ Church, Frederica, and Vicar of Camden County Missions.