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Wilmer, Richard Hooker  

(Mar. 15, 1816-June 14, 1900). The only bishop consecrated by the Protestant Episcopal Church in the Confederate States. He was born in Alexandria, Virginia. His father was William Holland Wilmer, a founder and one of the original members of the faculty of the Virginia Theological Seminary. Richard Wilmer graduated from Yale College in 1836 and from Virginia Seminary in 1839. He was ordained deacon on Mar. 31, 1839, and priest on Apr. 19, 1840. He served parishes in Goochland and Fluvanna counties in Virginia prior to becoming rector of St. James Church in Wilmington, North Carolina. Wilmer returned to Virginia where he continued his ministry in Clarke, Loudon, and Fauquier counties. He also ministered in Bedford County, Virginia, from 1853-1858. In 1858 Wilmer started a mission in Henrico County, Virginia, and that mission grew into Emmanuel Church. He served there until his consecration as the second Bishop of Alabama. He was elected bishop on Nov. 21, 1862. This occurred a little over three months after the Diocese of Alabama decided that the Episcopal Church in Alabama would secede from the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States. He was consecrated without a majority vote of the House of Bishops and the Standing Committees of the Episcopal Church. A majority of the bishops of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the Confederate States consented to Wilmer's consecration. He was consecrated on Mar. 6, 1862, at St. Paul's Church in Richmond, Virginia. During his episcopate, a Home for Orphans was opened in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, a diocesan Board of Missions was established, a diocesan newspaper was published, attempts were made to organize missionary work, and the financial affairs of the diocese were systematized. After the reunion of the southern dioceses with the Episcopal Church following the Civil War, Wilmer's ordination as a bishop was recognized and accepted by the Episcopal Church. He died in Mobile, Alabama. 




Glossary definitions provided courtesy of Church Publishing Incorporated, New York, NY,(All Rights reserved) from "An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church, A User Friendly Reference for Episcopalians," Don S. Armentrout and Robert Boak Slocum, editors.
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