Epis­co­pal vote makes history

Los Angeles Times - - THE NATION -

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.

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