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ATLANTA -- The Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta has chosen its first black bishop to lead the church's 52,000 members in north and middle Georgia.

The Very Rev. Robert C. Wright was elected Saturday by delegates representing the region's 96 parishes.

The 48-year-old priest currently serves as rector of St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Atlanta. He will replace Bishop J. Neil Alexander, who has held the job in Atlanta for 11 years. Alexander is stepping aside to become a professor and lead the Department of Anglican Studies at Emory University's theology school.

Wright holds degrees from Howard University and the Virginia Theological Seminary. He was ordained a priest in 1999.

Wright is scheduled to be ordained as bishop Oct. 13 in Atlanta.