A choir sang during the Bicentennial Celebration of the Episcopal Diocese of Georgia.
A choir sang during the Bicentennial Celebration of the Episcopal Diocese of Georgia.

Episcopal diocese marks bicentennial with events at St. Paul’s Church

St. Paul’s Church. Photo courtesy Kevin de l’Aigle.

St. Paul’s Church marked the bicentennial of the founding of the Episcopal Diocese of Georgia with a weekend of activities including a special service Saturday at the site where the diocese began.

Augusta’s St. Paul’s was founded in 1750, long before a diocese was created, and four buildings have stood at the Reynolds Street location with the current one built in 1919.

“Though Anglicans founded Georgia, no bishop visited the colony or state for its first 82 years. For much of that time, one had to travel to England for confirmation. In February 1823, the three Episcopal congregations in Georgia–Christ Church in Savannah, Saint Paul’s in Augusta and Christ Church Frederica on St. Simons Island–sent delegates to the first convention of what became the Protestant Episcopal Church in the State of Georgia,” according to the bicentennial program.

Bishop Robert Wright of the Diocese of Atlanta spoke Feb. 25 at St. Paul’s Church.

On Feb. 25, Bishop Robert Wright of the Diocese of Atlanta delivered the sermon, saying that the day was to “give thanks,  acknowledge our shortcomings, then the part I like the best to pledge our ourselves anew to join Jesus’ righteous purpose in the state of Georgia and beyond.”

Wright tied in an earlier reading from the Book of Genesis about Jacob’s dream of ladders with angels ascending and descending to Georgia’s founding father.

“In 1732, the dreamer was James Oglethorpe. He was an Anglican and dreamed of a Georgia that would be different. He wanted a Georgia to be a place where those who were a poor and in debt could find a second chance, a place where people of African descent would not be enslaved a place where indigenous people could  be strategic partners and life companion and a place free from religious bigotry,” he said.

The Episcopal Diocese of Georgia marked its bicentennial with a special service Feb. 25. Photo courtesy Kevin de l’Aigle.

However, Georgia’s history hasn’t played out that way. And Episcopalians have been divided on those very issues. Even the first bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Georgia was an enslaver.

Despite the past, Wright is hopeful for a different future because God is the god of dreams.

When God gives a dream, it causes people to “believe, belong and become, and God’s dream working in us makes us bigger and bolder for cause of justice and compassion than we might be on our own,” he said. “God’s dream often comes to us especially when it seems like the sun has set on our energies and hope.”

Wright said he hopes for a day where love does conquer all including all hatred and bigotry.

There will come a day, he said, when all that remains is love.

Wright was among many Episcopal clergy from across the state who took part in the service. The weekend also included confirmation events and a reception.

The full service is available at St. Paul’s facebook page.

Charmain Z. Brackett is the publisher of Augusta Good News. Reach her at charmain@augustagoodnews.com. Subscribe to the newsletter here.

Support Local Journalism

Local stories on local people, organizations and events. That's the focus of Augusta Good News, a member of the Georgia Press Association. And you don't have to go through a paywall to find these stories. An independent voice in Augusta, Ga., Augusta Good News is not funded by a billionaire or a large corporation; it doesn't have celebrity reporters who have agents. It's local people who are invested in the community and want to tell its stories. You can support local journalism and help us expand our coverage by becoming a supporter. Through Ko-Fi, you can give once or set up a monthly gift.

Comments are closed.