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Jun 27, 2015 | Carol E. Barnwell

Bishop Michael Curry Elected 27th Presiding Bishop

Today the Episcopal Church elected the Rt. Rev. Michael Bruce Curry, to become the 27th Presiding Bishop-elect, “first among equals,” to lead the Church for the next nine years on the first ballot with 121 votes of 174 voting bishops. The House of Deputies confirmed with a vote of 800 to 12.

 

The House of Bishops and Deputies gathered together to hear the announcement of the election and immediately erupted in applause and cheers, complete with noise makers (previously passed out to celebrate the 230th anniversary of the House of Deputies).

 

"I am very excited for our Church," said Bishop Andy Doyle. " I have worked with Michael in a variety of ways, he is a gifted preacher, teacher, author, man of God and crazy Christian. I was honored to sit in the House of Deputies when we confirmed the first woman and amazingly touched when we stood and sang Lift Every Voice as our Episcopal bishops of Black descent signed the testimonials," he added. 

Deputy Mary Parmer spoke through tears, "He covers all the bases! He gives voice and hope to all. He incarnates evangelism and truth telling."

 

Bishop Curry arrived in the House of Deputies at 2:30 after deputies had declined on a number of opportunities to recess, preferring to await the process at ease in the cavernous meeting room.

 

"God love you," he began, "I know you haven't had lunch so no sermon now. It really is a blessing and privilege to serve the Church and the Lord this way. We are God's children ... My heart is full. The Church has challenges before it but we have a God and there really is a Jesus. We are part of the Jesus movement ... nothing can stop the movement of God's love in this world."

 

Bishop Curry has been bishop of North Carolina since 2000 and will be the first African American presiding bishop when he succeeds the Most Rt. Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori this fall.

 

Bishop Curry is an exuberant preacher, and promises to raise the Episcopal Church's profile with an ever present smile, energetic preaching and his unabashed love of Jesus. His election comes as the country re

 

Bishop Curry is elected as the country’s first African American president completes his final term in office; as the country reels in the wake of the Charleston murders and a time when "black lives matter" has become a meme. Bishop Curry has been elected at a moment in history when the Church can become a beacon of hope in reconciliation to heal a hurting world.

 

Bishop Curry has been a guest in the Diocese of Texas on many occasions, most recently at the Invite, Welcome, Connect Summit in May.

 

Born in Chicago, Illinois, on March 13, 1953, Bishop Curry attended public schools in Buffalo, New York, and graduated with high honors from Hobart College in Geneva, New York, in 1975. He received a Master of Divinity degree in 1978 from Yale University Divinity School. He has also done continued study at The College of Preachers, Princeton Theological Seminary, Wake Forest University, the Ecumenical Institute at St. Mary's Seminary, and the Institute of Christian Jewish Studies.

 

Bishop Curry was ordained to the diaconate in June 1978 at St. Paul's Cathedral, Buffalo, New York, by the Rt. Rev. Harold B. Robinson and to the priesthood in December 1978, at St. Stephen's, Winston-Salem, North Carolina, by the Rt. Rev. John M. Burgess.

 

He began his ministry as deacon-in-charge at St. Stephen's, Winston-Salem, North Carolina, in 1978 and was rector there 1979-1982. He next accepted a call to serve as the rector of St. Simon of Cyrene, Lincoln Heights, Ohio, where he served 1982-1988. In 1988 he became rector of St. James', Baltimore, Maryland, where he served until his election as bishop.    

 

In his three parish ministries, Bishop Curry was active in the founding of ecumenical summer day camps for children, the creation of networks of family day care providers and educational centers, and the brokering of millions of dollars of investment in inner city neighborhoods. He also sat on the Commission on Ministry in each of the three dioceses in which he has served.

 

During his time as Bishop of the Diocese of North Carolina, Bishop Curry has taken the Diocese into 21st-century Galilee, the complex modern world that churches must engage in order to continue spreading the Gospel. He instituted a network of canons, deacons and youth ministry professionals dedicated to supporting the ministry that already happens in local congregations and refocused the Diocese on The Episcopal Church’s Millennium Development Goals through a $400,000 campaign to buy malaria nets that saved over 100,000 lives. Throughout his ministry, Bishop Curry has also been active in issues of social justice, speaking out on immigration policy and marriage equality.

 

Bishop Curry serves on the boards of a large number of organizations and has a national preaching and teaching ministry. He has been featured on The Protestant Hour and North Carolina Public Radio’s The State of Things, as well as on The Huffington Post. In addition, Bishop Curry is a frequent speaker at conferences around the country. He has received honorary degrees from Sewanee, Virginia Theological Seminary, Yale, and, most recently, Episcopal Divinity School. He served on the Taskforce for Re-imagining the Episcopal Church and recently was named chair of Episcopal Relief and Development's Board of Directors. His book of sermons, Crazy Christians, came out in August 2013.   

 

He and his wife, Sharon, have two adult daughters, Rachel and Elizabeth.

 

FOLLOW BISHOP CURRY
Twitter: @BishopCurry
Facebook: facebook.com/bishopcurry

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