Arkansas priest named interim executive director of Absalom Jones Center for Racial Healing

By David Paulsen
Posted Apr 16, 2024

[Episcopal News Service] Atlanta Bishop Rob Wright announced April 15 that the Rev. Greg Warren will serve as interim executive director of the Absalom Jones Center for Racial Healing, based in the diocese and Georgia’s capital city.

Greg Warren

The Rev. Greg Warren was named interim executive director of the Absalom Jones Center for Racial Healing in Atlanta, Georgia. Photo: Diocese of Atlanta

Warren, a priest in the Diocese of Arkansas, will begin in his new role on May 1, succeeding the center’s founding director, Catherine Meeks, who retired at the end of 2023. Warren most recently served as rector of St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in Conway, Arkansas, and has a previous experience in corporate settings, including strategic communications and advertising, according to the Diocese of Atlanta news release. Before his seminary training, he worked for Walmart as vice president for diversity and inclusion.

“Greg is well-qualified and well-experienced in the work of helping people see afresh the dignity of every human being,” Wright said in the news release. “I look forward to him bringing his considerable gifts and talents to bear as well as building on the good work of the center.”

Warren said in the news release that he sees racial reconciliation as some of The Episcopal Church’s most important work. “The center’s work is uniquely positioned and has proven to be a powerful force for real change,” Warren said. “The center has a great history, a powerful reputation, and many opportunities for growth; I am honored and excited to be a part of that legacy.”

The appointment of an interim executive director comes about a month after Meeks went public with a complaint she had filed against Wright under the church’s Title IV canons governing clergy discipline. She said she had accused Wright of “ageism, ableism, microaggressions and abuse of power,” but the complaint had been dismissed with no disciplinary action against Wright.

Wright now is one of five candidates for the church’s 28th presiding bishop and will stand for election at the 81st General Convention in June.

The Absalom Jones Episcopal Center for Racial Healing is named for Absalom Jones, the first Black Episcopal priest, whose feast day is celebrated every Feb. 13. Meeks helped the Diocese of Atlanta found the center in 2017 and led it for more than six years as executive director.

The Episcopal Church first formalized its support for the Absalom Jones Center in a 2017 memorandum of understanding with the Diocese of Atlanta. That document, which acknowledges the leadership of both Wright and Meeks, affirmed that the Absalom Jones Center would be “a part of the Diocese of Atlanta and under the direction of the bishop of Atlanta. The Diocese of Atlanta shall have complete discretion as to the details of the operation of the Center, including decisions as to personnel, materials and expenses.”

The Episcopal Church also has committed a total of $200,000 to the center through that initial agreement and subsequent annual updates. A proposed update for 2024 is being finalized and would include an additional $40,000 of support, according to the church’s Office of Public Affairs.

– David Paulsen is a senior reporter and editor for Episcopal News Service based in Wisconsin. He can be reached at dpaulsen@episcopalchurch.org.


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