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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – For the first time in its 228-year history, the Episcopal Church has an African-American female as the Head of a Diocese.

More than 50 bishops from around the country traveled to Indianapolis this weekend to celebrate the consecration of the Rev. Jennifer Baskerville-Burrows as the Bishop of the Diocese of Indianapolis.

“Well, this is a one in a lifetime thing for me as a dean to welcome a new bishop to this cathedral,” said Stephen Carlsen, Dean of Christ Church Cathedral on Monument Circle. “Its also a first time moment for the Episcopal Church and so we’re doubly blessed today.”

Bishop Baskerville-Burrows hails from New York City and takes over the lead of a church with a dwindling membership, down to less than 15,000 statewide compared to 25,000 in 1980.

9300 Episcopalians live in Indianapolis.

“Whenever there is a first, its breaking new ground and helping to show possibilities for those who might have dreamed of this reality and now then can see it embodied,” said the new bishop who is aware of the cultural, spiritual and political challenges she faces in her new assignment. “I’m really following the lead of our congregations who are on the ground, who know what the needs of the community are, some of those are real immediate needs around hunger and immigration issues. We’re in the conversation with other partners across the city around sanctuary.”