The Right Reverend Adam Jefferson Richardson Jr. was installed as the senior bishop of the African Methodist Episcopal Church on June 26 during the AME Church's Annual Council of Bishops and General Board Meeting Worship Service at the Birmingham-Jefferson County Convention Center in Birmingham, Alabama.

Richardson succeeds the Right Reverend McKinley Young who died in January 2019. He was elected and consecrated the 115th Bishop at the 1996 General Conference.

The senior bishop has the longest tenure of service in the AME Church and is first in order of precedence among the Council of Bishops. The position has existed since the incorporation of the church as a denomination in 1816, however the first formal investiture ceremony occurred at the 2004 General Conference. The ceremony includes the passage of the Senior Bishop's regalia-a solid gold medallion with the logo of the denomination donated by the family of Claude Stephens.

"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," said Richardson during his investiture. "Whatever successes, whatever achievements, the credit, the glory will belong to God in Christ."

Richardson previously pastored Bethel AME Church in Tallahassee, where he served for 18 years. He obtained a bachelor of arts degree from the Florida A&M University where he was head drum major of the Marching 100 Band.

"There are quite a few steps (literally and figuratively) between the Patch (the practice field) and Senior Bishop!" Richardson said in a statement.

He received his master of divinity and doctor of sacred theology degrees at the Interdenominational Theological Center in Atlanta, Georgia.

The African Methodist Episcopal Church is the world's oldest denomination founded by African-Americans. It was founded in 1787 by Richard Allen and has over 2 million members in 40 countries on five continents.

As a bishop, he has served churches in Sierra Leone, Ghana, Liberia, Cote D'Ivoire, Togo and Benin (14th District), South Africa (19th District), Virginia, North Carolina, Maryland and Washington, D.C. (Second District) and currently Florida and the Bahamas Islands (11th District).

He 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 an author with articles or chapters in several books, including the "African-American Devotional Bible" and "Headlines to Homilies."

Richardson is expected to serve as senior bishop until 2024. He is married to Dr. Connie Speights Richardson and are parents of Monique Richardson, a Leon County judge and Trey Richardson, a hospital radiographer.

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