Bishop M. Thomas Shaw, left, and Rev. Karen Coleman, right, during Coleman's installation at St. James Church in Somerville. Coleman received a Red Sox T-Shirt as part of the ceremony. Credit: Chris Orchard
After three years of serving as priest-in-charge of St. James Episcopal Church in Teele Square, Rev. Karen Coleman was officially installed Thursday as the church's rector.
It's the first time in 25 years a rector has been installed at St. James, Somerville's only Episcopal church, according to an email from St. James' clerk.
What's more, Coleman's installation represents the first time an African-American woman has been installed in an Episcopal parish in Massachusetts.
An installation is an official ceremony to commemorate a new ministry, according to episcopalchurch.org. The website says, "Typically, a rector"—Coleman's new title—"is the priest in charge of a self-supporting parish, and a vicar is the priest in charge of a supported mission." Vicar is another word for priest-in-charge, according to another online glossary.
Bishop M. Thomas Shaw of the Massachusetts diocese led the installation, and in his homily he said, "This is the last Episcopal church in Somerville. This is our opportunity to reach out to a community that's changed dramatically."
Before coming to Somerville, Coleman served in Needham and Randolph, according to the Randolph Herald. It says she was raised in Michigan and also worked in fundraising before attending Episcopal Divinity School in Cambridge.
During Thursday's installation, in addition to formal ceremonies, Coleman received a Detroit Tigers T-Shirt, to remember where she came from, and a Boston Red Sox T-Shirt, to remember where she is.