Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Jeremiah Williamson ordained and consecrated 10th bishop of Albany

The Rt. Rev. Jeremiah Williamson was ordained and consecrated as the 10th bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Albany on Feb. 24 at the Cathedral of All Saints in Albany, New York.

The Rt. Rev. DeDe Duncan-Probe, bishop of Central New York and president of Province II, served as the chief consecrator. Co-consecrators were Colorado Bishop Kimberly Lucas, South Carolina Bishop Ruth Woodliff-Stanley, retired Ohio Bishop Mark Hollingsworth Jr., retired Colorado Bishop Robert J. O’Neill, retired Ohio Suffragan Bishop Arthur B. Williams Jr. 

Thirteen other episcopal bishops attended the service, along with over 120 members of the Albany clergy, numerous priests and deacons from around the Episcopal Church, and over 20 ecumenical guests, including Bishop Lee M. Miller II of the Upstate New York Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and Bishop Blair Couch of the Northern Province of the Moravian Church in America.

The lessons were read by Jennifer Firth, who was a member of the Bishop Profile and Search Committee, and by Williamson’s son, Isaiah, 9. His son Oscar, 12, served as an acolyte. The gospel was read by the Rev. Justine Guernsey, the diocese’s director of deacons. His parents, David and Connie Williamson, presented him with a pastoral staff. The staff was made by David Williamson from wood from the bishop’s grandparents’ farm.

“I know that for Jeremiah, a deep sense of God’s calling has nurtured, sustained and fueled this whole journey and will sustain his journey ahead,” the Rev. Jennifer Williamson, a Methodist pastor and the bishop’s wife, said in the sermon. “My prayer for him is that he will continue to feel that deep sense of calling and by doing so will continue to abide in the love of Christ. My prayer for the Diocese of Albany is that we all will dwell in the assurance of God’s calling and in doing so will abide in the love of Christ.”

The service also included Williamson’s official seating in the cathedral as bishop.

Lay representatives from many of the diocese’s parishes carried their church banner in procession, while others participated in the service as ushers, acolytes, gift presenters, and service participants. 

The cathedral choir sang some of Williamson’s favorite hymns. Hundreds of lay people representing the Albany diocesan parishes filled the nave and cheered for their new bishop when presented by Duncan-Probe.

“After months of being your bishop-elect, I am exceedingly pleased to now be your bishop. February 24 is a day that will forever be impressed on my soul. The event was soaked through with holy love and fueled by abundant joy,” said Williamson.

Williamson also received a silver sterling ring designed by Trevor Floyd and set with a Herkimer diamond engraved with the diocesan seal. Herkimer diamonds are a type of quartz crystal mined only in the Mohawk Valley of New York.  

The Roman numeral “X” is also engraved on either side of the ring to signify Williamson being the 10th bishop of Albany.

“The gifts I received during the consecration liturgy will forever serve as reminders of your love and trust. No matter where I am, when I look down at my ring, I will think of you and our bond,” the bishop said.

In a letter written to the diocese following the consecration Williamson said, “I am touched by your care. I am humbled by your embrace of me, my ministry, and my family. I am strengthened by your companionship. And I am consumed by hope for the future God has in store for our diocese.”

Williamson becomes Albany’s first diocesan bishop since the resignation of the Rt. Rev. William Love in February 2021 while he was facing disciplinary action over his ban on same-sex marriage. 

The diocesan Standing Committee served as the ecclesiastical authority until Williamson’s consecration.

Williamson previously was serving as rector of Grace and Saint Stephen’s Episcopal Church in Colorado Springs, Colorado, when he was elected bishop in September 2023.

A video of the consecration is available on the diocese’s YouTube channel. The service book in PDF format is available here.