Window honors first woman bishop, first African-American priest

June 28, 2007

On June 24, in a day celebrating firsts, Bishop Barbara C. Harris, the first woman to be consecrated a bishop of the Episcopal Church and of the Anglican Communion, dedicated the first window to honor her along with a panel remembering Absalom Jones, the first African-American Episcopal priest at the Church of St. Alban the Martyr, in St. Albans (Queens), New York.

The dedications occurred during the parish’s patronal festival honoring the first recorded British martyr, St. Alban.

The windows at St. Alban the Martyr were given in memory of departed parishioner Judith Espeut-Harris, according to a news release.

Harris was elected bishop suffragan for the Diocese of Massachusetts on September 24, 1988, and ordained and consecrated on February 11, 1989.

Absalom Jones founded of the African Episcopal Church of St. Thomas in Philadelphia.

The Harris window depicts the bishop on the day of her ordination to the episcopacy. She is shown greeting the congregation in her consecration cope and miter ornamented with Ghanian women's weave Kente and African god-symbols designed and made by Victor Challenor and the Rev. Paul Woodrum, sometime assistant priest at St. Alban the Martyr. Challenor and Woodrum are in Challwood Studio, Brooklyn, New York, and were consultants in the fabrication of the window.