Inclusive Episcopate

Rt. Rev. John M. Burgess

The Right Reverend John M. Burgess, c. 1967.

Rt. Rev Quintin E. Primo

The Right Reverend Quintin Ebenezer Primo, Jr., c. 1970.

The growing local momentum toward inclusiveness resulted in the election of several African Americans as suffragans who were not limited to “colored work.” The majority of these assignments were in northern dioceses where the suffragans were granted authority over white congregations. The first of these was John M. Burgess in 1962 in the Diocese of Massachusetts. Bishop Burgess was quickly followed by Richard B. Martin; John T. WalkerQuintin E. Primo, Jr.; Harold L. Wright; Henry I. Mayson; and Walter D. Dennis. Burgess and Walker were later elected as diocesan bishops in Massachusetts and Washington (D.C.).

Election of African Americans continued into the 1980s in the dioceses of Long Island, Connecticut, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. The decade was also marked by the consecration of two black priests, Orris G. Walker, Jr. (Long Island) and Herbert Thompson, Jr. (Southern Ohio) as bishop coadjutors, a distinction in jurisdiction which did not require service as suffragan bishops. The 1980s culminated in the consecration of the first black woman to the episcopate, Barbara C. Harris, as bishop suffragan of Massachusetts in 1989. It was more than a symbolic victory for women and African Americans. Barbara Harris’s election forced the Church to engage an extended reexamination of the authority of its teaching in matters where polity brushed up against scriptural literalism. The principle of equality for all baptized Christians that grew out of the struggle to end segregation and become a truly catholic Church would become the Episcopal Church’s unique contribution to the evolving Anglican Communion.

Black Episcopalians continued to be selected for overseas service in dioceses where the Episcopal Church serves a predominantly black population. They have achieved the episcopate in Haiti, Liberia, Virgin Islands, Panama, Honduras, Dominican Republic, and Nicaragua. A list of those African American men and women who have served in the episcopate follows.

James Theodore Holly, I Bishop of Haiti
Consecration number: 106a
Consecration date: November 8, 1874

Samuel David Ferguson, IV Bishop of Liberia
Consecration number: 139
Consecration date: June 24, 1885

Edward Thomas Demby, Bishop Suffragan for Colored Work
in the Diocese of Arkansas and the Province of the Southwest

Consecration number: 296
Consecration date: September 29, 1918

Henry Beard Delany, Bishop Suffragan in the Diocese of North Carolina
Consecration number: 298
Consecration date: 1918

Theophilus Momolu Fikah Gardiner, Bishop Suffragan of Liberia
Consecration number: 318
Consecration date: June 23, 1921

Bravid Washington Harris, VIII Bishop of Liberia
Consecration number: 451
Consecration date: April 17, 1945

Dillard Houston Brown, IX Bishop of Liberia
Consecration number: 580
Consecration date: January 6, 1961

John Melville Burgess, X Bishop of Massachusetts
Consecration number: 590
Consecration date: December 8, 1962

Cedric Earl Mills, I Bishop of the Virgin Islands
Consecration number: 593
Consecration date: April 19, 1963

Richard Beamon Martin, Bishop Suffragan of Long Island
Consecration number: 620
Consecration date: February 2, 1967

George Daniel Browne, X Bishop of Liberia
Consecration number: 652
Consecration date: August 6, 1970

Luc Anatole Jacques Garnier, IV Bishop of Haiti
Consecration number: 660
Consecration date: April 20, 1971

John Thomas Walker, VI Bishop of Washington
Consecration number: 664
Consecration date: June 29, 1971

Lemuel Barnett Shirley, IV Bishop of Panama
Consecration number: 675
Consecration date: February 19, 1972

Telesforo Alexander Isaac, II Bishop of the Dominican Republic
Consecration number: 678
Consecration date: March 9, 1972

Quintin Ebenezer Primo, Jr., Bishop Suffragan of Chicago
Consecration number: 683
Consecration date: September 20, 1972

Harold Louis Wright, Bishop Suffragan of New York
Consecration number: 694
Consecration date: February 2, 1974

Henry Irving Mayson, Bishop Suffragan of Michigan
Consecration number: 716
Consecration date: October 9, 1976

Walter Decoster Dennis, Bishop Suffragan of New York
Consecration number: 734
Consecration date: October 6, 1979

Henry Boyd Hucles, III Bishop Suffragan of Long Island
Consecration number: 760
Consecration date: June 20, 1981

Clarence Nicholas Coleridge, XIII Bishop of Connecticut
Consecration number: 763
Consecration date: October 23, 1981

James Hamilton Ottley, V Bishop of Panama
Consecration number: 779
Consecration date: June 24, 1984

Sturdie Wayman Downs, II Bishop of Nicaragua
Consecration number: 793
Consecration date: February 9, 1985

Arthur Benjamin Williams, Jr., Bishop Suffragan of Ohio
Consecration number: 812
Consecration date: October 11, 1986

Egbert Don Taylor, III Bishop of the Virgin Islands
Consecration number: 819
Consecration date: February 24, 1987

Orris George Walker, Jr., VII Bishop of Long Island
Consecration number: 826
Consecration date: April 9, 1988

Herbert Thompson, Jr., VIII Bishop of Southern Ohio
Consecration number: 829
Consecration date: September 24, 1988

Franklin Delton Turner, Bishop Suffragan of Pennsylvania
Consecration number: 831
Consecration date: October 7, 1988

Barbara Clementine Harris, Bishop Suffragan of Massachusetts
Consecration number: 834
Consecration date: February 11, 1989

Chester Lovelle Talton, Bishop Suffragan of Los Angeles
Consecration number: 861
Consecration date: January 26, 1991

Victor Alfonso Scantlebury, Bishop Suffragan of Panama
Consecration number: 864
Consecration date: March 15, 1991

Jean Zache Duracin, V Bishop of Haiti
Consecration number: 881
Consecration date: June 2, 1993

Theodore Althelbert Daniels, IV Bishop of the Virgin Islands
Consecration number: 931
Consecration date: June 30, 1997

Wendell Nathaniel Gibbs, Jr., X Bishop of Michigan
Consecration number: 950
Consecration date: February 5, 2000

Michael Bruce Curry, XI Bishop of North Carolina
Consecration number: 955
Consecration date: June 17, 2000

Lloyd Emmanuel Allen, III Bishop of Honduras
Consecration number: 971
Consecration date: October 20, 2001

Gayle Elizabeth Harris, Bishop Suffragan of Massachusetts
Consecration number: 981
Consecration date: January 18, 2003

Edward Ambrose Gumbs, V Bishop of the Virgin Islands
Consecration number: 1003
Consecration date: June 11, 2005

Nathan Dwight Baxter, X Bishop of Central Pennsylvania
Consecration number: 1010
Consecration date: October 21, 2006

Eugene Taylor Sutton, XV Bishop of Maryland
Consecration number: 1030        
Consecration date: June 28, 2008

Ogé Beauvoir, Bishop Suffragan of Haiti
Consecration number: 1064    
Consecration date: May 22, 2013

Robert C. Wright, X Bishop of Atlanta
Consecration number: 1069
Consecration date: October 13, 2013

Carl Wright, Bishop Suffragan for Armed Services and Federal Ministries
Consecration number:
Consecration date: Feb. 11, 2017

Jennifer Baskerville-Burrows, XI Bishop of Indianapolis
Consecration number:
Consecration date: April 29, 2017