William Ragsdale Cannon
(5 April 1916 – 1997) was an American Bishop
of the United Methodist Church
, elected in 1968.
Birth and Family
William was born in Chattanooga, Tennessee
, the son of William Ragsdale and Emma McAfee Cannon. Bishop Cannon was raised in Dalton, Georgia
. He never married.
William graduated from the University of Georgia
in 1937, and from Yale Divinity School
, New Haven, Connecticut
in 1940. He earned his Ph.D.
degree from Yale University
Ordained and Academic Ministry
Cannon served churches in Oxford
before joining the faculty of Candler School of Theology
, Emory University
in 1943. From 1953 until 1968 Cannon served as the Dean
of the Seminary. In the mid-1960’s Dean Cannon defended Emory’s retention of Religion Professor Thomas J.J. Altizer
, a proponent of the death-of-God
position. This position later came to be known as the God is Dead
controversy. Cannon also guided Candler through racial integration.
Dr. Cannon was regularly elected as a delegate to U.M. Jurisdictional and General Conferences, beginning in 1948. During the administration of Jimmy Carter
, Cannon served as an unofficial envoy of the President.
Dr. Cannon had the high honor of being a Protestant
observer at the Vatican II
Council of the Roman Catholic Church
in Rome in 1965. Later, as a Bishop, he also observed the Extraordinary Synod of the R.C. Church in 1985. He became friends with Pope John Paul II
, who sent a statement to be... Read More