A new congregation in Antioch, Calif., is named in honor of Deaconess Anna Alexander of Georgia, who was added to the church’s calendar by General Convention in 2018.
The parish provides more details:
Anna Ellison Butler Alexander came to the attention of St. George’s, Antioch, and St. Alban’s, Brentwood, during last year’s Lent Madness, Forward Movement’s version of March Madness with saints “competing” in the brackets. St. Anna “won” the Golden Halo, six months before General Convention reaffirmed her sainthood in July.
Born shortly after the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863, Anna Alexander devoted her life to the service of others by providing much needed education and literacy to the children of those formerly enslaved. Despite the segregation of the Episcopal Church at the time, she became the first African American Deaconess in the Episcopal Church.
The new congregation in California has parishioners who hail directly from Uganda, Liberia, Nigeria, Sri Lanka, the Philippines, Korea, Mexico, Canada, Holland, Lebanon, Sierra Leone, Bermuda and Ghana, among others.
The Rev. Jill Honodel, long-term supply priest, said, “We were so inspired by Anna’s story of the pouring out her life for the sake of those formerly enslaved; despite having little resources she managed over time to build a school as well as a church to help people succeed through literacy. Educational segregation exists right here in our neighborhood in that only 9% of the African American boys pass their math through high school. We are inspired by St. Anna to do our part so that as many people as possible have a chance to succeed and the opportunity for a good future.”