Born and raised near the Ohio River, Bishop Benhase graduated from DePauw University in 1979. After college, he spent a year as a missionary of the Episcopal Church in Honduras. During that time, he discerned a vocation to ordained ministry. In 1980, he was accepted as a postulant and entered Virginia Theological Seminary that fall. He married Kelly Jones on May 12, 1984, eight weeks after his ordination to the priesthood.
After two years as a curate at Trinity Church, Indianapolis, he accepted a call to be Rector of St Paul’s, East Cleveland, an urban parish in one of the poorest communities in the country. He spent five years there helping the parish transition from a predominantly white parish to a predominantly black one. In 1990, Bishop Benhase was called to be Vicar of Trinity, Charlottesville, an historic black church that discerned a call to become an integrated community to witness next door to Mr. Jefferson’s University. In 1995, Bishop Benhase accepted a call to St Philip’s Church in Durham, North Carolina, the mother church of Durham, where he led in the numerical growth of the parish as well as the growth of the parish’s witness in their urban neighborhood. In 2006, he accepted a call to be Rector of St Alban’s Parish in Washington, DC, the parish church next to the National Cathedral.
He was elected the 10th Bishop of Georgia in September of 2009. A major initiative of his episcopacy was the Campaign for Congregational Development, a capital campaign raising funds to enhance capacity in congregational growth and development, in clergy and lay leadership, and in the formation of youth and young adults.
Bishop Benhase and his wife, Kelly, have three grown children: John (and his wife Sarah) live in Savannah, GA; Charley (and his wife Charlotte), live in Washington, D.C.; and, Mary Grace who also lives in D.C.
Concerning his call to St. Cyprian’s in Oxford, he said: “When I was informed Bishop Rodman had approved my call to St. Cyprian’s, I was overjoyed. In meeting with the Search Committee and the Vestry, I found a people truly committed to the Gospel of Jesus, the unmerited mercy and grace he gives to all, without exception. Through our shared leadership of God’s work at St. Cyprian’s, I trust we will glorify God and form God’s people to be the hands, the heart, and the feet of Jesus in this world.”
Ajulo Othow, Sr. Warden
Beth Matthews, Jr. Warden
408 Granville St, Oxford, NC 27565, USA