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Former Lawyer Becomes First Black Female Episcopal Bishop In The South

Black Women in the News

Former Lawyer Becomes First Black Female Episcopal Bishop In The South

By Carol Kuruvilla via

The Episcopal Church has ordained an African American woman to serve as a bishop in the South for the very first time.

The Rev. Phoebe Roaf, 55, was officially consecrated as bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of West Tennessee on Saturday. She is the fifth black female bishop in the history of the Episcopal Church.

Born in Arkansas, Roaf is a fourth-generation Episcopalian. Her brother is former New Orleans Saints player Willie Roaf.

The bishop told HuffPost that growing up, she never saw anyone who looked like her behind the altar.

“As someone who grew up in the Episcopal Diocese of Arkansas in the late 1970s when there were no female priests and no African-American priests in that diocese, I never…

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I am a future butterfly at the stage of growth when I am turning into an adult. I am enclosed in a hard case shell formed by love, family, and friends. It is the hardest stage of becoming a black butterfly. You will encounter many hardships only to come out stronger and better than what you went in. At this stage, you are finding out who you truly are and how to love yourself.

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The image of the butterfly has come to define the many expressions of the feminine black consciousness and for a good reason. The butterfly is the perfect articulation of the exquisite beauty of nature. Whether tiny or large, brightly colored or more subdued, the butterfly’s allure is undeniable. Each one displays its own unique patterns and hues, and no one species outshines any other.

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