Williams to be Interim Director of Ethnic Congregational Development

Nov 14, 2002 03:00 AM EST

Presiding Bishop Frank T. Griswold has announced that the Rt. Rev. Arthur B. Williams, Jr., retiring bishop suffragan of the Diocese of Ohio, will become the part-time acting director of Ethnic Congregational Development on January 1, 2003. Williams will officially end his responsibilities with the Diocese of Ohio at the end of this year, but will continue as vice president of the House of Bishops through the 2003 General Convention.

In his work with Ethnic Congregational Development, Williams will be connecting with the Asian-American, Black, Hispanic, and Native American ethnic communities and networks to strengthen efforts to grow and develop ethnic congregations, while at the same time maintaining an advocacy role within those communities. A primary focus of his work will be the recruitment of staff officers and the full-time director of the department to assist dioceses, provinces, and congregations in this key area.

Williams, a native of Providence, Rhode Island, and a graduate of Brown University, was a chaplain in the US Navy during the Vietnam War. He served as archdeacon of the Diocese of Ohio, specializing in developing urban ministries, as well as former chair of the National Editorial Committee of "Lift Every Voice And Sing II," the Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation (JPIC) Committee, and vice president of the Union of Black Episcopalians (UBE).

Williams was also co-convenor of the Committee on Human Sexuality (sometimes called "Committee 25")with Rebecca Snow of Alaska at the 2000 General Convention. He has developed a reputation as a passionate pastor, teacher, and mentor.

In his announcement, Griswold said, "I could not be more pleased that Bishop Williams has accepted my invitation to take on this assignment. We are at a critical and exciting point in our efforts to respond to the energies of the church for mission, both within existing congregations and those we have yet to reach. Bishop Williams is a person of great stature, universally trusted and respected. He is known for his vigorous efforts over the years against racism in all its forms and his commitment to social justice. I know his contributions to our common life will be invaluable as he steps into this key staff role."

A profile of Williams, published October 20, is on the web site of the Cleveland Plain Dealer at

By Jan Nunley