More than 35 bishops from around the United States, England, Tanzania and Ghana joined in the iconic laying on of hands as the Rt. Rev’d E. Mark Stevenson was ordained and consecrated the 14th Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia. The service was held at The Saint Paul’s Baptist Church in Richmond, Va., on Saturday, December 3.
The Chief Consecrator was Presiding Bishop Michael Bruce Curry, for whom Stevenson previously served as the Canon to Presiding Bishop for Ministry within The Episcopal Church. Co-consecrators were: Nevada Bishop Elizabeth B. Gardner; Virginia Suffragan Bishop Susan E. Goff; Massachusetts Suffragan Bishop Gayle E. Harris; Bishop Michie Klusmeyer, Canon to the Presiding Bishop for Ministry within The Episcopal Church and retired Bishop of West Virginia; Northwestern Pennsylvania Bishop and Western New York Provisional Bishop Sean Rowe; Bishop Robert Humphrey of the Virginia Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America; and Bishop Lane Sapp of the Southern Province of Worldwide Moravian Unity.
In a sermon devoted to unity across our differences and an all-embracing love, Presiding Bishop Michael Curry invoked the wisdom of Sister Sledge by singing a few bars of “We Are Family” as the audience clapped along. Bishop Curry said, “Jesus came to show us how to be family and the truth is we already are. It’s just a matter of being who we are.” He urged the people to “treat everyone like your family and then work to build a society, a church and a world where everybody is a child of God.” He concluded with this invitation to the people of the Diocese: “Virginia, join hands with Mark and help us to become who God has called us to be.”
Over the course of Stevenson’s ordained ministry, he has served as Director of Episcopal Migration Ministries, Domestic Poverty Missioner for The Episcopal Church, and Canon to the Ordinary in the Diocese of Louisiana. He was the Rector in two parishes: the Church of the Annunciation in New Orleans, and the Church of the Good Shepherd in Maitland, Florida.
Bishop Stevenson succeeds the Rt. Rev. Shannon Johnston who retired in 2017. Suffragan Bishop Susan Goff served as Ecclesiastical Authority in the interim years.
As Bishop of the Diocese of Virginia, Stevenson is the pastoral leader of 177 congregations, with more than 65,000 baptized members.
All photos by Jay Paul.
A recording of the full service is available here.