Most Rev Michael Curry is the presiding bishop and primate of the Episcopal Church of the United States. He is the first black presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church.
Michael Bruce Curry, born March 13, 1953, is the 27th and current presiding bishop and primate of the Episcopal Church. Elected in 2015, he is the first African American to serve in that capacity. He was previously the bishop of the Diocese of North Carolina.
Bishop Curry noted in his autobiography that both sides of his family were descended from slaves and sharecroppers in North Carolina and Alabama. He was born in Chicago and attended public schools in Buffalo, New York. He graduated with high honors from Hobart College in Geneva, New York, in 1975. He then earned a Master of Divinity degree, in 1978, from the Yale Divinity School. Curry has also studied at The College of Preachers, Princeton Theological Seminary, Wake Forest University, the Ecumenical Institute at St. Mary’s Seminary in Baltimore, and the Institute of Christian Jewish Studies.
Curry was ordained deacon at St. Paul’s Cathedral, Buffalo, New York by the Rt. Rev. Harold B. Robinson in June 1978 and priest at St. Stephen’s, Winston-Salem, North Carolina by the Rt. Rev. John M. Burgess in December 1978. He served initially as deacon-in-charge and subsequently as rector of St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church (1978–1982) in Winston-Salem, North Carolina; then as rector of St. Simon of Cyrene Episcopal Church in Lincoln Heights, Ohio (1982–1988). He served as rector of St. James’ Episcopal Church in Baltimore, Maryland (1988–2000). In his three parish ministries, Curry participated in crisis response pastoral care, the founding of ecumenical summer day camps for children, preaching missions, creation of networks of family day care providers, and the brokering of investment in inner city neighborhoods. He inspired a $2.5 million restoration of the St. James’ church building after a fire.
Curry was elected eleventh bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of North Carolina on February 11, 2000, and consecrated bishop on June 17, 2000, at Duke Chapel on the campus of Duke University in Durham. The consecrators were Robert Hodges Johnson, J. Gary Gloster, and Barbara C. Harris.
As a diocesan bishop, Curry served on the board of directors of the Alliance for Christian Media and chaired the board of Episcopal Relief and Development. He also had a national preaching and teaching ministry and was a frequent speaker at services of worship and conferences around the country.
Curry, throughout his ministry in North Carolina, was also active in issues of social justice, speaking out on immigration policy and marriage equality. Curry also instituted a network of canons, deacons, and youth ministry professionals to support preexisting ministries in local congregations. Curry also led the Diocese of North Carolina to focus on the Millennium Development Goals through a $400,000 campaign to buy malaria nets that saved over 100,000 lives.
On May 1, 2015, the joint nominating committee for the election of the presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church nominated Curry and three other bishops as candidates for 27th presiding bishop and primate of the Episcopal Church. The election occurred on June 27, 2015, at the 78th General Convention meeting in Salt Lake City, and Curry was elected by the House of Bishops meeting in St. Mark’s Cathedral on the first ballot with 121 of 174 votes cast. Laity and clergy in the House of Deputies ratified Curry’s election later the same day. Curry was installed as presiding bishop and primate on November 1, 2015, All Saints’ Day, during a Eucharist at Washington National Cathedral.
Bishop Curry, on May 19, 2018, had the honor of delivering the sermon at the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s Royal Wedding at St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle in England.