1909 – John Melville Burgess was born in Grand Rapids, Michigan on March 11th. American clergyman.
1930-1931 – He received bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Michigan.
1934 – He graduated from the Episcopal Theological School in Cambridge.
1935 – He was ordained to the priesthood.
1945 – He married Esther J. Taylor of Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada, whom he met at a church conference in North Carolina.
1946 – Bishop Burgess served as the first denominational chaplain at Howard University in Washington, D.C., a ministry notable for its outreach to students from Africa and the Caribbean.
1962 – Archdeacon Burgess was elected Suffragan Bishop of Massachusetts and was consecrated bishop at Trinity Church, Copley Square.
– John Burgess was elected bishop suffragan (an assisting bishop) of the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts on the first ballot.
1964 – Bishop Burgess accepted the invitation of the Rev. Henry Bird, rector of Grace Episcopal Church, Vineyard Haven, to serve as summer minister at St. Simon Peter Chapel, worshiping Sundays in the Chilmark Community Center.
– Bishop Burgess was elected Bishop Coadjutor to succeed the Rt. Rev. Anson Phelps Stokes as diocesan bishop, becoming the first African-American diocesan bishop in the Episcopal Church.
1970 – Episcopal bishop of Massachusetts.
– The first black Episcopal diocesan bishop in U.S.
1975 – At his retirement, the Joint Urban Fund he had founded was renamed the John Melville Burgess Urban Fund.
1982 – He took up teaching at Berkeley Divinity School in New Haven, authored Black Gospel/White Church published by Seabury Press, served as board chairman at St. Augustine’s College, Raleigh, N.C., and accepted invitations to exercise an Episcopal role in numerous dioceses.
1989 – The Burgesses moved to a modest home in Vineyard Haven and became members of Grace Episcopal Church.
2003 – Died on August 24th in Vineyard Haven.