Fier y bishop brings African Amer­i­can flair to royal wed­ding

South Florida Times - - NATION - GRE­GORY KATZ and DAVID RIS­ING By

WIND­SOR, Eng­land -Noth­ing cap­tured the trans-At­lantic na­ture of Satur­day's royal wed­ding as much as the guest preacher whose ser­mon brought African Amer­i­can fire and flair to a very English church ser­vice.

The Most Rev. Michael Bruce Curry, the first black leader of the Epis­co­pal Church in the United States, was cho­sen per­son­ally by Prince Harry and Meghan Markle to ad­dress their 600 wed­ding guests.

The bishop's pas­sion­ate ser­mon on the theme of love, punc­tu­ated with quotes from the bi­ble, Martin Luther King Jr and African Amer­i­can spir­i­tu­als, was a con­trast to the more solemn and muted Angli­can style the royal fam­ily is used to.

Many ob­servers were sur­prised and de­lighted. BBC broad­caster Jeremy Vine tweeted: “The preacher is do­ing 50 in a 30 zone and it's bril­liant.''

Su­per­model Naomi Campbell hit Caps Lock and tweeted: “BISHOP MICHAEL CURRY GIV­ING ME LIFE.''

Quot­ing civil rights King on the “re­demp­tive power of love,'' Curry told the bride and groom “it's not just for, and about, a young cou­ple who we re­joice with, it's more than that.''

Curry, who like Markle's mother has African an­ces­tors who were slaves in the U.S., said that even dur­ing their time of bondage, love helped those in cap­tiv­ity per­se­vere.

“When love is the way, we ac­tu­ally treat each other, well, like we are ac­tual fam­ily,'' he said in a ser­mon that touched on poverty, in­equal­ity and the heal­ing power of love.

“When love is the way, we know that God is the source of us all and we are brothers and sis­ters, chil­dren of God and brothers and sis­ters,'' he said. “That's a new heaven, a new earth a new world, a new hu­man fam­ily.''

Harry and Markle ex­changed a quick glance at one an­other at one point as Curry drifted from his pre­pared re­marks and ad libbed while the queen looked on sto­ically. Camilla and Kate-- the Duchess of Corn­wall and the Duchess of Cam­bridge -- traded side­long glances.

Queen El­iz­a­beth II, who as monarch holds the ti­tle of Supreme Gov­er­nor of the Church of Eng­land, did not show any sign of dis­com­fort and looked as stoic as she had through the en­tire cer­e­mony.

There may have been a touch of royal relief when Curry wrapped up with “We gotta get y'all mar­ried now.''

The crowds wait­ing out­side for a glimpse of the royal cou­ple loved it. Cheers greeted Curry as he walked up­hill from the chapel along the pro­ces­sion route af­ter the ser­vice. One man shouted “well done'' prompt­ing a smile and “God bless you'' from the bishop.

For­mer Labour Party leader Ed Miliband, an athe­ist, tweeted: “Rev Michael Curry could al­most make me a be­liever.''

The Epis­co­pal Church is an off­shoot of the Church of Eng­land in the United States and has been the spir­i­tual home of many of the Amer­i­can found­ing fathers and U.S. pres­i­dents.

Even though its sup­port for gay mar­riage has re­cently caused fric­tion with the greater Angli­can Com­mu­nion, Arch­bishop of Can­ter­bury Justin Welby said ahead of the cer­e­mony that he was “thrilled'' Curry would be speak­ing there, call­ing him a “stun­ning preacher.''


LOVE SER­MON: Bishop Michael Bruce Curry ad­dresses 600 guests at the royal wed­ding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.

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