The Episcopal Church USA has installed Bishop Michael Curry of North Carolina as its first black presiding bishop as the new leader called for racial unity and overcoming economic inequalities.
"We are God's children, all of us. No matter our race, no matter our religion, no matter our class, our stripe, our type, we are God's children," said the 62-year-old Curry speaking in Washington National Cathedral.
During his installation address Nov. 1, Curry also pressed the 2 million-strong church to work for a more just society, Reuters news agency reports.
"We have been sent and called into this world not to settle for what is, but to dream and work for what shall be," he said.
A number of killings of unarmed black men at the hands of white police officers has triggered nationwide anger at injustice and cries for fairness in America's criminal justice system.
Tensions escalated further in June after nine black parishioners of the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina, were shot to death by a white gunman in a massacre.
The killings at AME Church, an independent black Protestant denomination rooted in the Methodist Church with an Episcopal form of governance, were said to have been racially motivated.
Curry succeeds Katharine Jefferts Schori, who installed him and was the first woman in the post and has served a nine-year term.
For some 15 years he was leader of the Diocese of North Carolina before he was elected as leader in June in Salt Lake City. Curry grew up in Buffalo, New York, and earned degrees from Hobart College in Geneva, New York, and Yale Divinity School.