For the second time in just over a year, Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church is getting a new priest.
Rev. Anthony Cook, who was assigned to the parish in November 2011, is returning to his Michigan home to lead a parish in Southgate, Mich. Last Sunday was his final day at Annunciation.
He will be replaced by Rev. James Berends, also a Michigan native who is coming to Memphis from St. Barbara Greek Orthodox Church in Durham, N.C. He will celebrate his first Liturgy at Annunciation this Sunday.
“I’m very excited to be coming to Memphis and to be following such a distinguished line of priests, in particular Father Nicholas Vieron,” Berends said, referring to Annunciation’s pastor emeritus.
Berends, 55, has served parishes in North Carolina and Georgia. He grew up in the Baptist church and his father was a Baptist preacher. He is a graduate of Wheaton College, where he also played basketball.
He has divinity degrees from Dallas Theological Seminary and the Orthodox Seminary at Holy Cross, where his friend and fellow student was Paul Vieron, son of Annuniciaton’s pastor emeritus. Berends and his wife, Anne, have two daughters.