BRUNSWICK, Ga. — The head of the Episcopal church is helping coastal Georgia celebrate the church’s first black deaconess.

Presiding Bishop Michael Curry was scheduled to preach Saturday at the Church of the Good Shepherd in Brunswick. Following the church service, Curry was to attend a tent revival at the Episcopal Diocese of Georgia’s Honey Creek Retreat Center in neighboring Camden County.

Both events were planned in celebration of Anna Ellison Butler Alexander, the first black Episcopal deaconess who founded the Good Shepherd church and built a two-room school next door. The diocese said in a news release that Alexander served the church in coastal Georgia for more than 60 years before she died in 1947.

The diocese says there are more than 18,000 Episcopalians in southeastern Georgia.

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