SALT LAKE CITY – The Episcopal Church’s General Convention elected Bishop Michael Curry of the Diocese of North Carolina to be their 27th Presiding Bishop while meeting in Salt Lake City Saturday, which makes Curry the first person of color to be elected to that position within the Episcopal Church.
According to a press release from the Episcopal Church’s digital news service, the 62-year-old Curry was elected by the House of Bishops from a slate of four nominees on the first ballot, and he received 121 of the 174 total votes cast. The 78th General Convention is being held in Salt Lake City through July 3, click here for more details.
The election was confirmed about an hour later by the House of Deputies, as per the church’s cannons. That vote proceeded 800 to 12 in favor of Curry.
The House of Deputies reportedly erupted in applause when Curry entered Saturday afternoon following his confirmation.
“It really is a blessing and privilege to serve our church and to serve our Lord in this way,” Curry stated in the press release. “I treasure this church, this house, the House of Bishops, all of us. We are God’s children.”
Curry also stated The Episcopal Church is “the church where I learned about Jesus.”
“This is a good and wonderful church and we are good and wonderful people and I thank God to be one of the baptized among you,” Curry stated in the release, adding, “My heart is really full.”
Curry will reportedly serve a 9-year term once he succeeds current Presiding Bishop Katherine Jefferts Schori on November 1, when his term officially begins.
“He will become the first person of color to hold that position,” according to the Episcopal Digital Network.
A liturgy marking the start of Curry’s ministry as Presiding Bishop and Primate is scheduled for November 1, All Saints Day, at Washington National Cathedral.
According to the Episcopal Digital Network:
“Curry has been North Carolina’s 11th diocesan bishop since he was ordained and consecrated on June 17, 2000. He was the rector of St. James’ Episcopal Church, Baltimore, Maryland, when he was elected to the see on Feb. 11, 2000. He is also the current chair of Episcopal Relief & Development’s Board of Directors.
This makes the second time in a row that the General Convention made history with its election of a presiding bishop. In 2006, Jefferts Schori became the first woman ever elected presiding bishop of The Episcopal Church. She was also the first female among the primates, or ordained leaders, of the Anglican Communion’s 38 provinces, a distinction she still holds.”