St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Athens, Welcomes Claire Brown as New Rector

Episcopal Diocese of East Tennessee
Posted Dec 10, 2021

The Rev. Claire Brown welcomes the congregation to the celebration of the Eucharist. Photo/Andrew Morehead

With a full choir and a full church, The people of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church welcomed The Rev. Claire Brown as their first female and newest Rector and celebrated their robust ministry in the Athens community. The Right Rev. Brian L. Cole, Bishop of East Tennessee, celebrated the service with The Rev. Joe Woodfin preaching.

“We are here to celebrate that you have found someone who is a partner and a leader in ministry.” the Rev. Woodfin noted. “She is a priest who loves Jesus and who cares deeply about the church.”

In his welcoming notes to the congregation, Bishop Brian Cole stated, “We’re grateful for Claire Brown and that you have said yes to this community and that your family has said yes. And I’m grateful that you said yes many many years ago to being open to God’s call in your life. […] When you think about long-haul ministry or long-term investment, think about these children tonight who are witnesses to this century when we pray by God’s grace for the next one. We want you all to be here for the long haul.”

St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Athens, is one of 50 Episcopal churches in the Episcopal Church in East Tennessee with over 150 years of active ministry in the Athens area. More information on St. Paul’s worship services and ministries is available at