News Release: People, Religion and Ethics, Teaching

Feb. 10,  2011

Episcopal Bishop of Atlanta to Join Faculty of Emory's Candler School of Theology

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The Rt. Rev. J. Neil Alexander is leaving his post as bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta to join Emory University’s Candler School of Theology as professor in the practice of liturgy and director of the Anglican Studies Program. His appointment begins in the fall of 2012.

“Bishop Alexander brings to Candler a significant scholarly record, as well as extraordinary insights about the needs of the church and the formation of congregational leaders,” says Jan Love, dean and professor of Christianity and world politics at Candler. “I am deeply honored that he has chosen to join our faculty and enrich our Anglican Studies Program.”

A Return to Academia

For Alexander, the move is a return to academia. Prior to his 2001 election as the ninth bishop of Atlanta, he had a career in theological education that spanned two decades, most recently as Norma and Olan Mills Professor of Divinity in Liturgics and Homiletics at the University of the South’s School of Theology from 1997-2001, and as Trinity Church Professor of Liturgics and Preaching at General Theological Seminary in New York from 1990-1997. Alexander has been an adjunct professor at Candler for a number of years, giving him an insider’s view of the school.

“I have always been impressed with the strength and vigor of the academics at Candler while at the same time staying connected to the needs of the churches,” says Alexander. “Combining excellent research and teaching with deep concern for the practicalities of ministry has long been a hallmark of the Candler experience. I look forward to being a part of that rich mix of teaching and learning.

Pastoral Experience, Scholarship Is Extensive

Alexander’s pastoral experience is equally extensive. He served as priest-in-charge at St. Agnes Episcopal Church in Cowan, Tenn. (1997-2001), as director of the Chapel of the Good Shepherd at the General Theological Seminary (1987-1997), and has held several other ministerial posts.

Alexander received his Doctor of Theology degree from the General Theological Seminary (1993), his Master of Divinity from Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary in Columbia, S.C. (1980), and two honorary doctorates, from the General Theological Seminary (2001) and the University of the South (2002). He lectures across the United States and Canada, and has published four books as well as numerous journal articles, book reviews and essays. He currently is chancellor of the University of the South, a position he will hold until the fall of 2012.

“Bishop Alexander exemplifies Candler’s emphasis on hiring faculty who have a rare combination of skills,” says Love. “They are first-rate scholars who are deeply dedicated to teaching and excellent leaders in the church.”

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