Bishops of the Anglican Church in North America have elected a Georgia-based bishop to succeed their founding archbishop, Robert Duncan of Pittsburgh, the church announced Sunday.
Bishop Foley Beach of the Diocese of the South, based in suburban Atlanta, was elected at the conclusion of a three-day conclave held by the bishops at St. Vincent Archabbey in Latrobe.
He will officially take office as archbishop after the conclusion of the diocese's assembly being held this week in Latrobe. His term of office is five years, and he is eligible for re-election. He made his first public appearance as archbishop-elect this afternoon at a vespers service at Church of the Ascension in Oakland.
Archbishop-elect Beach served as bishop of the Diocese of the South, which encompasses 10 Southern states, since 2010, and has also served as a pastor.
He graduated from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, the School of Theology at the University of the South, and Georgia State University. He has served in ministry with Young Life, the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church.
He and his wife of more than 30 years, Allison, have two grown children.
"I am delighted by this election and how the College of Bishops, after much deliberation and prayer, came to a unanimous decision," Archbishop Duncan said in a statement. "This is a happy day for the Anglican Church in North America, a happy day for the Anglican Communion, and a happy day for the Christian Church."
Archbishop Duncan is completing his five-year term as the inaugural archbishop of the denomination, founded by those disaffected by liberal trends in the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church in Canada.
Archbishop Duncan will remain bishop of the denomination's Anglican Diocese of Pittsburgh, the same title he held with the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh before he and a majority of the diocese's congregations seceded to form the new group.
The global Anglican communion continues to recognize the Episcopal and Anglican churches but not the newer Anglican Church in North America, although several leading archbishops in the Global South have switched recognition to the latter group.
The Anglican Church in North America claims about 112,000 members in nearly 1,000 congregations. The bishops have been meeting at St. Vincent College since Thursday. A broader assembly of members is scheduled for the coming week there, with various church bodies considering policy, gathering for worship and hearing speakers.
Peter Smith: email@example.com