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Buckhead Episcopal Parish Installs New Rector

Feb 28, 2024

St. Anne’s Episcopal Church in the Buckhead community of Atlanta chose The Rev. Buddy Crawford as rector.

Wright told a packed church that going against normal protocols was just what was needed in this case.

“It is not our norm to allow a priest in charge to be a candidate for rector. But out of an abundance of evidence it seems like it is good that we are here,” Wright said when he installed Crawford as rector on Jan. 25, 2024. “Sometimes circumstances present themselves that must be attended to with different muscles and different processes and protocols. Tonight is one such instance.

“You have picked the caring man. You picked the right man. You picked someone who’s been a good partner to the Diocese of Atlanta, who’s been a good partner to his Bishop, Someone who has found a way to hold gentleness and candor together,” Wright said.

Crawford has a long history within the Diocese, including having been a member of the Standing Committee, a board member of the Diocesan Foundation, and of the Diocesan Benefits Committee. He currently is a search consultant for parishes in transition and a faculty member for Learning 2 Lead, a program for newly ordained clergy and clergy in transition that Wright said is unique within The Episcopal Church. Crawford is also a retreat leader, mentor, and supervisor of seminarians, and assists laypersons in discerning possible calls to ordained life.

Wright credited the church’s lay leaders with remaining faithful during the discernment process.

“Resurrection happens. It does happen. You are right to believe that God can provide.” Wright said. “Continue to believe it deeply. Robustly. Muscularly. You’re right to believe that God can do anything but fail.”

As part of his installation groups of parishioners presented Crawford with symbolic gifts of his and the church’s ministries, including a microphone. “Buddy, receive this microphone and be among us as we use technology to share God’s word near and far. Amen,” members of the parish’s technology ministry said.

Crawford responded with a heartfelt message that combined his talent for gentleness and candor.

“This community and the work we’ve done over three years of reconciling and beginning to fall in love with each other again, and for reconnecting and reengaging was overwhelming in a wonderful sense of that word,” Crawford said.

“But I do want to say to all you Saint Anne’s peeps. This is not a culmination that we’re celebrating. This is our anticipation of the next thing that God has for us to do here. And so, I’m glad you’re going to join me and (partner) Eric in this work we’ll do together. So, thank you from all my heart.”

St. Anne’s parish, named in honor of the mother of Mary and grandmother of Jesus, dates from the mid-20th century. It moved to the intersection of today’s Northside Drive and Moores Mill Road in Atlanta in 1957. At the time the property included a single red brick building, originally constructed in 1899 as a schoolhouse which remains the oldest standing structure in Buckhead. Although it was later transformed into the church’s first sanctuary, the building’s initial purpose foreshadowed a significant development.

Nine years after acquiring the property, the church established St. Anne’s Day School with its first class of 13 preschoolers. In 1994, the Day School adopted the Reggio Emilia Approach, renowned for its innovative preschools and infant-toddler centers in Italy.

St. Anne’s also operates a senior living development which it opened in 1987. St. Anne’s Terrace has one and two-bedroom senior citizen independent living apartments with varied floor plans.

Don Plummer is the beat reporter for The Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta. If you have story ideas, please reach out to Don.

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