J. Neil Alexander

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The Right Reverend
J. Neil Alexander
IX Bishop of Atlanta
Church The Episcopal Church
Diocese Atlanta
Predecessor Frank Allan (bishop)
Successor Robert Christopher Wright
Consecration July 7, 2001
by Frank Griswold
Personal details
Born January 23, 1954
Winston-Salem, NC

John Neil Alexander (born January 23, 1954) is an Anglican liturgist and bishop in the Episcopal Church, currently serving as dean of the School of Theology at the University of the South. From 2001 to 2012, he was the 9th bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta.


Alexander was born in 1954 in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. In 1976 he married Lynn Tesh Alexander, a pediatric nurse practitioner. They are the parents of three adult children, John, Kelly, and Mary Catherine and grandparents of three grandsons.

He graduated from Moravian College in 1976 with a B.A. degree in Music. In 1979, he obtained a M.Mus. degree from the University of South Carolina. In 1980, Alexander earned a M.Div. degree from the Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary, and was ordained by the North Carolina Synod of the Lutheran Church in America, first pastoring Faith Lutheran Church in Murray Hill, New Jersey.

In 1984, Alexander became Professor of Liturgics and Spirituality and Dean of Keffer Memorial Chapel at Waterloo Lutheran Seminary in Ontario, Canada. In 1987, he joined the faculty at General Theological Seminary in New York City as as Assistant Professor of Preaching and Director of the Chapel, later teaching liturgics as well. He was ordained as a deacon and then priest in the Episcopal Church in 1988 by New Jersey Bishop Mellick Belshaw. He received a Th.D. degree from General Seminary in Liturgics in 1993, where he became the Trinity Church Professor of Liturgics and Preaching. While at General, he served in a variety of parish settings in the metropolitan New York area. In 1997, he was named the Norma and Olin Mills Professor of Divinity at the School of Theology at the University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee. He has also taught at Candler School of Theology, Drew University, and Yale Divinity School.[1]

Alexander was elected and consecrated bishop of Atlanta in 2001, and was nominated for Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church in 2006. The Rt. Rev. Katharine Jefferts-Schori was elected, the first woman to hold the position. As the bishop of an owning diocese of the University of the South, he served as chancellor from 2009 to 2012.[2]

On February 8, 2011, Alexander announced that he would step down as bishop of Atlanta in the fall of 2012 after the election of his successor. In 2012, he was appointed the dean of the School of Theology at the University of the South, where he is also Professor of Liturgy and Charles Todd Quintard Professor of Theology.


J. Neil Alexander was the 968th bishop consecrated in the Episcopal Church.


Bishop Alexander is the author and editor of a number of publications in the fields of liturgics, homiletics, sacramental theology, and pastoral practice, including a number of his sermons.

  • Celebrating Liturgical Time: Days, Weeks, and Seasons, Church Publishing, 2014
  • This Far by Grace: A Bishop's Journey Through Questions of Homosexuality, Cowley Publications, 2003
  • With Ever Joyful Hearts: Essays on Liturgy and Music Honoring Marion J. Hatchett, Church Publishing, 1999
  • Waiting for the Coming: The Liturgical Meaning of Advent, Christmas, and Epiphany, Pastoral Press, 1993
  • Time and Community: Studies in Liturgical History and Theology, Pastoral Press, 1990

See Also...[edit]


  1. ^ Sewanee: The University of the South. "The Dean | The School of Theology | The University of the South". www.sewanee.edu. Retrieved 2017-12-08. 
  2. ^ Ross, Nan, "Bishop of Atlanta announces plans to leave in 2012," February 8, 2011. Online: https://www.episcopalatlanta.org/news/bishop-of-atlanta-announces-plans-to-leave-in-2012/
  • Bishop's Page, Diocese of Atlanta website.
  • The Episcopal Church Annual. Morehouse Publishing: New York, NY (2005).
Episcopal Church (USA) titles
Preceded by
Frank K. Allan
9th Bishop of Atlanta
July 7, 2001-October 14, 2012
Succeeded by
Robert C. Wright