James Parker Dees
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|James Parker Dees|
|1st Presiding Bishop|
|Church||Anglican Orthodox Church|
|Successor||George C. Schneller|
|Born||30 December 1915
Greenville, North Carolina, USA
|Died||December 25, 1990
James Parker Dees was the founder and first bishop of the Anglican Orthodox Church and the Orthodox Anglican Communion. Dees was born in Greenville, North Carolina on December 30, 1915, the son of James Earle Dees and Margaret Burgwin (Parker) Dees. He graduated in 1938 from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree in political science and economics, then took a year of graduate study in international relations. From 1939 until 1942, he worked for the Atlantic Coast Line Railroad in Greenville, North Carolina. For two years after the Second World War, he was a baritone soloist with the New York Opera Company. He then studied at the Protestant Episcopal Church’s Virginia Theological Seminary for his Bachelor of Divinity degree, graduating in 1949. He was ordained as a deacon in the Episcopal Church on June 29, 1949; and as a priest by Thomas Henry Wright, Bishop of East Carolina, at the Church of the Holy Cross, in Aurora, North Carolina, on January 19, 1950. As a member of the Diocese of North Carolina, he served in charges in Aurora, Beaufort, and Statesville. His concerns about advancing liberalism caused him to withdraw from the denomination in 1963. Dees was discouraged from joining the Reformed Episcopal Church by Carl McIntire because of their association with groups perceived as being neo-evangelical. The decision to form a new jurisdiction was made. Dees founded the Anglican Orthodox Church on November 17, 1963 - the first religious body to withdraw from the PECUSA in the modern era. On Passion Sunday, March 15, 1964 Dees was consecrated a bishop by Wasyl Sawyna of the Holy Ukrainian Autocephalic Orthodox Church of North and South America, assisted by Orlando Jacques Woodward, a bishop of Old Catholic succession.
In 1967 Dees founded the Orthodox Anglican Communion for the purpose of providing coverage to churches abroad, and soon thereafter Khurshid Alam, a bishop of Pakistan, and V. J. Stephen, a bishop of South India affiliated with the Communion, recognizing Dees as Metropolitan. New national churches in Kenya, Madagascar, Great Britain, and Colombia, rapidly followed. Upon this wave of expansion and success, Cranmer Seminary, the theological college of the jurisdiction and the communion, was founded.
Dees died during heart surgery on December 25, 1990. Dees' successor as Presiding Bishop of the Anglican Orthodox Church was George C. Schneller.
- Independent Bishops: An International Directory, Ward and Persson authors, Omnigraphics Inc (December 1990), p 359.
- Sword of the Lord (July 2, 1965) 5.