Episcopal vote makes history
The Episcopal Church elected its first African American presiding bishop, choosing Bishop Michael Curry of North Carolina during the denomination’s national assembly.
Curry was elected at the Episcopal General Convention, the church’s top legislative body, receiving 121 of the 174 votes from bishops on the first ballot. The decision was affirmed on an 800-12 vote by the House of Deputies, the voting body of clergy and lay participants at the meeting in Salt Lake City.
Curry’s election is the second consecutive landmark choice for the New York-based church of nearly 1.9 million members. He will succeed Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, who was the first female presiding bishop and the first woman to lead an Anglican national church. The Episcopal Church is the U.S. body of the Anglican Communion, an 80-million-member worldwide fellowship of churches with roots in the Church of England.
At a news conference, Curry said his selection was “a sign of our church growing more deeply in the spirit of God and in the movement of God’s spirit in our world.” He will be installed Nov. 1 in a service at the Washington National Cathedral.
Curry was elected as the nation grapples with the aftermath of the June 17 massacre of nine people at a historic African Methodist Episcopal church in Charleston, S.C.
The Episcopal Church, the faith home of many Founding Fathers and presidents, has been trying to confront its own history of racism.
The church has asked dioceses to research their links to slavery because many Episcopalians were slaveholders whose donations were used to build cathedrals and schools.