The Episcopal Church has elected Bishop Michael Curry as the new Presiding Bishop – with typical American razzmatazz This is one of those moments when a remarkable person with distinctive gifts steps onto the stage. Such moments are potentially transformative … Here is Bishop Michael today with Bishop Barbara Harris, first woman bishop in the Anglican Communion.
I’ve known Michael for about five years in his role as Bishop of North Carolina. He is an African American with the oratorical preaching gifts which go with that culture. He speaks passionately – and often quietly – about God and grace. He has personal charisma and charm in abundance. His sharp intelligence enables him to express our faith tradition and the story in ways that are fresh – often very funny – and which speak to the heart.
I watched people around me as his election – by an overwhelming vote – was announced. Younger people in particular were deeply moved. One young priest said to me that she ‘feels her vocation more strongly today’ because of this election.
This church is reflecting deeply on its place in the Anglican Communion. Several people – and the Episcopal News Service – wanted to know what the wider impact would be. It’s not for me to say. But I expect and hope that the fact that the new Presiding Bishop is an African-American who carries the story of racial prejudice in America – and the story of slavery – and the history of colonialism in his very being will change all the relational dynamics. And that’s because many of the most difficult issues of the Communion are rooted in the enduring impact of colonialism.
I’m looking forward very much to working with Presiding Bishop Michael. This is a good day for the Episcopal Church, for the world church and for the Anglican Communion