Allyson Abrams &
Diana Williams

2019 Welcome Cook Award

Bishop Allyson Abrams and Bishop Emeritus Diana Williams legally married in 2013 and are noted theologians, authors, activists and they bare the distinct honor of being the first two African American female bishops to marry prior to DOMA being struck down. They thus advocated for marriage equality. The Bishops story became number one on the Google Search engine in 2013. Bishop Abrams and Bishop Williams have secured a place in the history books as trailblazers in the DMV.

Bishop Abrams founded and established Empowerment Liberation Cathedral in May 2014. ELC is one of the fastest growing radically inclusive affirming churches in the DMV. ELC was voted as the Best of Gay DC’s house of worship for 4 years and Bishop Abrams as Best Clergy for 3 years. Bishop Abrams has received numerous honors since returning to the DMV as a Howard University Alumnist. She was honored as a Capital Pride Hero from the Capital Pride Alliance; she was named a Trailblazer from the DC Mayor’s Office of LGBT Affairs and Religious Affairs by Mayor Muriel Bowser; she was presented and given a stole from the National Gay & Lesbian Task Force (which travels with their Shower of Stoles) and asked to serve on the Task Force’s Religious Roundtable; and she was named the G-List’s Top 100 LGBT persons in the USA for the last 3 years. Bishop Allyson Abrams has recently been named the first chaplain for the DC Divas Football team of the Women’s Football Association. Bishop Allyson Abrams was blessed to officiate the first African American lesbian wedding on an African American owned cable network (wedding of Monifah & Terez on TV One) where she and Bishop Williams traveled to Hawaii for the ceremony. Bishop Abrams holds the honor of being the youngest African American Baptist female to be elected by a congregation to serve as senior pastor in the City of Detroit. After evolving and embracing her orientation, she began serving on the board of the Association of Welcoming and Affirming Baptist. Bishop Allyson Abrams was consecrated bishop in 2012 and is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.

Bishop Emeritus Williams is nationally and internationally noted for being the first African American female bishop consecrated to the office by an independent Catholic Church – The African American Congregation and its Imani Temples in 1998. Bishop Williams was one of the few clergy in Washington DC that would facilitate funerals and wedding blessings in the DMV. As a clinical therapist, her clinic provided HIV/AIDS counseling and clinical therapy to persons in the LGBT community. As a former member of BLSG her advocacy for African American women and the LGBT community propelled her to offer HIV & AIDS training in Africa and the Caribbean as the Chief of Staff for the World Conference of Mayors. Bishop Williams as a noted clinician has received numerous awards, served on many boards, and has been honored as Bishop and pastor for raising millions of dollars to address homelessness, poverty, and LGBT issues. She owned one of the largest mental health clinics in the DC area and established and wrote the curriculum for therapeutic after school programs and day treatment for youth. Bishop Williams wrote the curriculum for addressing silence on sexual education in the Black Church while also opening dialogues in the Black Church on LGBT issues with the curriculum “Healing Grace”.

Bishop Abrams and Bishop Williams are both graduates of HBCUs and hold Masters and Doctorate Degrees. Bishop Abrams as the founding pastor and bishop of Empowerment Liberation Cathedral and Pneuma Christian Fellowship, has received the highest honor as the recipient of United Theological Seminary’s Doctoral Alumni of the Year.

Bishop(s) Abrams and Williams are both national and international LGBT advocates and social justice activists. Their social justice ministry has supported HIV/AIDS prevention, mental health awareness, GOTV campaigns and intersectionality awareness. They have served with the Poor People’s Campaign and People For The American Way’s African American Ministers Leadership Conference.

Their passion led them to found the Empowerment Justice Center, which furthers the mission and vision of Empowerment Liberation Cathedral. EJC supports the needs of the LGBT community. EJC nationally with its partners focuses on mental health services, capacity building, financial sustainability for LGBT and faith-based organizations.

Bishop Allyson Abrams and Bishop Emeritus Williams have a blended family and are the proud parents of 3 college graduates and they reside in the DMV.

May 2019


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