New Faces In Church Leadership

Episcopal News Service. September 19, 1985 [85180]

ANAHEIM, Calif. (DPS, Sept. 19) -- Saying, "All praise and honor to our Lord Jesus Christ," the Very Rev. David B. Collins, dean emeritus of St. Philip's Cathedral in Atlanta, accepted his overwhelming election as next president of the House of Deputies.

Collins was elected on the first ballot. The vote was 577 for Collins, 156 for the Rev. Robert Wainwright of the Diocese of Rochester and 114 for the Rev. George Regas of the Diocese of Los Angeles.

The new president succeeds Dr. Charles R. Lawrence, who has served since 1976. At his retirement, Lawrence won praise from all quarters, including Presiding Bishop-elect Edmond L. Browning, who said: "You, sir, have gifted us with a sensitivity that has brought a wholeness to our Church family. You have prodded us gently where we have been neglectful. You have enriched the life of this Church."

Collins, 62, has been vice-president of the House since 1979. Collins thanked the deputies for the trust they had placed in him. "I promise to the best of my ability to discern and enable the gifts and ministries of both the members of this House and, as far as possible, of the whole Church," he said.

Collins played a highly visible and much-applauded role in the tumultuous 1976 convention, when the committee he chaired handled the issue of women's ordination. He has served on the Presiding Bishop's Advisory Committee on Evangelism and Renewal, the Church Deployment Board and the Church Pension Fund Board of Trustees.

Collins retired in July 1984 as dean of Atlanta's 4,600-member Cathedral. He and his wife Ginny lead renewal weekends in the joint ministry "Windsong."

Collins is a graduate of the University of the South, where he was ordained to the priesthood in 1949 and where he served as chaplain from 1953-66, after service in parishes in Arkansas following his ordination.

He was dean of the cathedral in Atlanta from 1966-84 and has served on the diocesan Standing Committee and the Christian Council of Metropolitan Atlanta.

As president of the House of Deputies, Collins becomes the second-most visible partner in the Church leadership with the Presiding Bishop. He will share with Browning the task of naming members to the Convention's interim bodies and is automatically a member and vice-chairman of the Executive Council of the Episcopal Church. With Browning, he is also, ex-officio, a member of all Convention agencies.

Collins will share leadership of the House with Pamela Chinnis, who won election as vice-president of the House of Deputies. Chinnis is a former presiding officer of Triennial, has served as a deputy and a delegate to the Anglican Consultative Council and to South Africa for the Church and has just completed a term on the Executive Council, where she chaired the Venture in Mission Funding and process Committee and the Stewardship Committee.

Chinnis is viewed as the highest-ranking lay person and as a likely successor to Collins as president. She is the first woman elected to such an office, although women -- lay and ordained -- chair a number of critically important Convention and Council committees.

Both Chinnis and Collins serve through the conclusion of the 1988 Convention and are eligible for re-election. Neither position is salaried, although both receive secretarial and travel assistance.

The changes in Convention leadership are mirrored all along the line as new people -- and some old vets in new roles -- take up positions of leadership.

Nine new Executive Council members elected by the house of Deputies include two women and representatives of other minorities.

Priests elected to serve six-year terms on the national board are the Rev. Sandra Wilson of Connecticut, who won on the first ballot, and the Rev. George E. Bates of the Diocese of Rio Grande. The Rev. Wallace A. Frey of Central New York was chosen for a three-year term.

Six-year terms for lay persons were won by Ralph Spence of the Diocese of Texas, Dr. Howard Anderson of the Dioceses of Minnesota and North Dakota, Thomas M. Van Culin of the Diocese of El Camino Real, Bettye Jo Harris of the Diocese of Hawaii, Vincent C. Currie, Jr. of the Diocese of the Central Gulf Coast, and Hon. Hugh R. Jones of the Diocese of Central New York.

Elected to Council from the House of Bishops were the Rt. Rev. Herbert A. Donovan of Arkansas and the Rt. Rev. Leopold Frade of Honduras. Both men had served abbreviated terms on Council as presbyters, leaving when they were elected to the episcopate.

In other elections, two members of the House of Bishops have been elected trustees of the General Theological Seminary in New York City.

They are the Rt. Rev. Christopher Keller, Jr. of Louisiana, and the Rt. Rev. Robert C. Witcher of Long Island.

Elected to the Board of Examining Chaplains were: lay persons, Dr. Thomas A. Bartlett, Dr. Warren Rainshaw and Mrs. Evelyn Shipman; priests with pastoral care, the Rev. Dr. William Barr, the Rev. Richard Cook and the Very Rev. Robert Giannini; seminary or college faculty, Dr. Barbara Aiken, the Very Rev. Dr. William H. Petersen and the Rev. Philip W. Turner, Jr.; bishops, C. FitzSimons Allison, John Ashby and M. Mark Dyer.