Anne Hodges-Copple ordained as North Carolina’s bishop suffragan

Newly ordained Bishop Suffragan of North Carolina Anne Elliott Hodges-Copple with her family during the June 15 service in Durham. Photo: Richard Schori

Bishop Suffragan of North Carolina Anne Elliott Hodges-Copple offers the blessing at the conclusion of her June 15 ordination service in Durham. Photo: Richard Schori

[Episcopal Diocese of North Carolina] The Diocese of North Carolina, on the morning of June 15, ordained the Rev. Anne Elliott Hodges-Copple as its sixth bishop suffragan. Hodges-Copple becomes the first female bishop in the Episcopal Church’s Province IV.

More than 1,400 people attended or participated in the service, held in the historic Duke Chapel on the campus of Duke University in Durham. Hodges-Copple, formerly the rector of St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, Durham, was elected Jan. 25 out of a field of five candidates during the diocese’s annual convention.

As bishop suffragan, Hodges-Copple will assist North Carolina Bishop Michael Curry in leading the diocese into what he has termed “21st-century Galilee,” or the diverse modern world in which we live.

Hodges-Copple ministry will focus especially on higher education, young adults, Spanish-speaking communities, the ordination process for the diaconate, companion diocese relationships with Costa Rica and Botswana, ecumenical and interfaith work, and pastoral care of retired clergy and their spouses.

Hodges-Copple will be the diocese’s first bishop suffragan since the Rt. Rev. Gary Gloster retired in 2007. With her historic election, she follows in the footsteps of the diocese’s first bishop suffragan, the Rt. Rev. Henry Beard Delany, who became the first black bishop to serve the diocese when ordained in 1918.

Hodges-Copple previously served as the Episcopal chaplain at Duke University; the assistant to the rector at St. Luke’s; the director of battered women’s shelters in Wake, Orange, and Durham counties; and a community organizer in Massachusetts and Kentucky.

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori served as chief consecrator. Co-consecrators included Curry, Gloster, Bishop Scott Benhase of Georgia and Bishop Suffragan Susan Goff of Virginia.

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori served as chief consecrator during the June 15 service. Photo: Richard Schori

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori served as chief consecrator during the June 15 service. Photo: Richard Schori

The service featured many important symbols of Hodges-Copple’s office: her brightly colored vestments, for example, display images of water, grain, grapes and wind and serve as expressions of sacramental life. The handmade walnut crosier she received belonged to the Rt. Rev. Huntington Williams, Jr., bishop suffragan of North Carolina from 1985-1989. The crosier is a gift from Williams’ family.

Hodges-Copple’s husband, John, presented her with her pectoral cross, and her mother, Joan Daniel Hodges, presented her with her ring. The Rt. Rev. Robert Johnson, 10th bishop of North Carolina and also a former rector of St. Luke’s, and his wife, Connie, presented Hodges-Copple with her miter. Her children, siblings, nieces and nephews all also played important roles.

Bishop Suffragan of North Carolina Anne Elliott Hodges-Copple with her family during her June 15 ordination service. Photo: Richard Schori

Bishop Suffragan of North Carolina Anne Elliott Hodges-Copple with her family during her June 15 ordination service. Photo: Richard Schori

Duke Chapel also holds special significance for Hodges-Copple. She attended Duke University as an undergraduate and sang in the chapel choir. She later served as the Episcopal chaplain at Duke from 1992 until 2005.

Watch a video of the complete service here.

Comments

  1. Donald Lowery says:

    I was there and it was glorious! What a wonderful day for Anne and her family. What a wonderful day for the Diocese of North Carolina.

  2. Margaret Akingbade says:

    Yes, I was there also and what a glorious day! Our very first female Suffragan Bishop in the Episcopal Diocese of North Carolina!! I could not be more proud to be a part of the Church where you are allowed to think and to question, and where it is being steadily revealed that God’s call is not limited to only one gender or one race or one sexual orientation. Thanks to Bishop Barbara Harris of Massachusetts, Bishop Eugene Robinson of New Hampshire, and Presiding Bishop Katherine Jefferts Schori for leading the way. Glory be to God!

  3. Sarah Britton Williams says:

    Bishop Anne is such a gift to our Diocese and to the Church!
    In postscript, the correct dates of Hunt Williams’s tenure are 1990-1996. His friend Frank Vest served as Bishop Suffragan from 1985 to 1989. Sadly, both Dad and Frank have left us, but their legacies live on.

  4. Doug Desper says:

    Just wondering where the Cross was during the extensive procession.

  5. pat royalty says:

    I am so proud of you, and proud for you, very good wishes from St. Anne’s, Atlanta, Ga.

  6. Drew Levy-Neal says:

    What a wonderful day for NC and for TEC. Anne is simply wonderful in all that she does and she embodies the concept of compassion.

  7. Nancy Nash Long Clayton says:

    I had the privilege of being in St. Michael’s of Tarboro, NC yesterday for the baptism of my young cousins….with the newly elected Bishop Anne Hodges-Copple…what an extraordinary day it was…she was so welcoming and natural….her faith and love immediately filled the sanctuary and I believe that all in attendance yesterday must have felt the warmth, desire, and love…

    Nancy Nash Long Clayton
    Member of Kitty Hawk United Methodist Church
    Kitty Hawk, NC 27949

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