BIRMINGHAM, AL — The Right Rev. Adam Jefferson Richardson Jr. of Florida was installed as senior bishop of the African Methodist Episcopal Church during its annual Council of Bishops and General Board Meeting Worship Service on June 26 in Birmingham, Ala.
He succeeds the late Right Rev. McKinley Young, who had served as the denomination’s 115th senior bishop since 1996. Bishop Young died in January.
The senior bishop occupies a key role in the A.M.E. Church and is the active bishop with the longest tenure of service. The senior bishop is first in the order of precedence among the Council of Bishops.
The position has existed since the denomination’s incorporation in 1816, however, the first formal investiture ceremony wasn’t held until the denomination’s 2004 General Conference.
“I am honored for service at this time in the history of our church,” Bishop Richardson said during his investiture. “I seek an interest in your prayers that I may rise to the occasion, that inadequacies may not be too glaring. Whatever successes, whatever achievements, the credit, the glory will belong to God in Christ.”
Bishop Richardson, who was the head drum major of the Marching 100 Band at Florida A&M University as an undergraduate, went on to earn a master’s of divinity and doctor of sacred theology degrees at the Interdenominational Theological Center in Atlanta.
As a bishop, he has served churches in Virginia, North Carolina, Washington and Maryland, Florida, the Bahamas and in several African nations, including Sierra Leone, Ghana, Liberia, Ivory Coast, Togo, Benin and South Africa.
Prior to his election, he served as pastor of Bethel A.M.E. Church in Tallahassee, Fla.
He has served as president of the Council of Bishops and represented the A.M.E. Church on a number of ecumenical bodies, including the World Methodist Council and the National Congress of Black Churches.
Bishop Richardson will serve as senior bishop until his retirement in 2024. He and his wife, Dr. Connie Speights Richardson, have two adult children, Judge Monique Richardson of Leon County, Fla., and Trey Richardson, a hospital radiographer and professional musician.
Founded in 1787 by Richard Allen, the African Methodist Episcopal Church is the world’s oldest denomination founded by African-Americans. It has more than 2 million members in 40 countries on five continents.