SPECIAL TO THE FLORIDA COURIER
The Right Reverend Adam Jefferson Richardson, Jr. has been installed as the Senior Bishop of the African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church.
The investiture took place at the AME Church’s Annual Council of Bishops and General Board Meeting Worship Service at the Birmingham-Jefferson County Convention Center in Birmingham, Alabama.
The Senior Bishop is the active bishop with the longest tenure of service in the AME Church and is first in order of precedence among the Council of Bishops.
The position occupies a key role in the polity and practice of the AME Church.
During his investiture, Richardson commented, “I am honored for service at this time in the history of our church. 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.”
FORMER PASTOR, DRUM MAJOR
Richardson succeeds the Right Reverend McKinley Young who died in January. He was elected and consecrated the 115th bishop at the 1996 General Conference.
With service in pulpits throughout Georgia and Florida, the last church Richardson pastored prior to his election was Bethel AME Church in Tallahassee where he served for 18 years.
He obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree from Florida A&M University, where he was noted as the head drum major of the “Marching 100” band.
He received his Master of Divinity and Doctor of Sacred Theology degrees at the Interdenominational Theological Center in Atlanta.
As a bishop, he has served churches in Sierra Leone, Ghana Liberia, Cote D’Ivoire, Togo and Benin (14th District), the Republic of South Africa (19th District), Virginia, North Carolina, Maryland and Washington, DC (2nd District) and currently Florida and the Bahamas Islands (11th District).
He has served as chair of the Health Commission, Lay, Commission on Seminaries, Colleges and Schools and as President of the Council of Bishops.
Richardson has represented the AME Church in a number of Ecumenical bodies including the World Methodist Council and the National Congress of Black Churches.
He is also a prolific author with articles or chapters in several books, including the “African-American Devotional Bible’’ and “Headlines to Homilies.’’
FROM ‘THE PATCH’ TO MINISTRY
Richardson will serve as Senior Bishop until his retirement in 2024.
Reflecting on his time as a FAMU drum major he said, “There are quite a few steps (literally and figuratively) between ‘The Patch’ (the practice field) and Senior Bishop!”
He and his wife, Dr. Connie Speights Richardson, are parents of two adult children – Monique (a Leon County Judge) and Trey (a certified hospital radiographer and professional saxophone player).
Founded in 1787 by Richard Allen, the African Methodist Episcopal Church is the world’s oldest denomination founded by African Americans. It has over 2 million members in 40 countries on five continents.