Bishop Curry's message of love

Published March 2, 2023

By Gary Pearce

Introduced as “the most exciting Episcopalian in history,” Presiding Bishop Michael Curry didn’t disappoint.

Of course, being the most exciting Episcopalian in history is “a low bar,” Rector Greg Jones joked as he presented Bishop Curry to the audience at St. Michael’s Church in Raleigh Monday night.

Then Bishop Curry set a high bar for all of us – Christians and non-Christians, believers and non-believers, skeptics and seekers, atheists and agnostics alike.

He challenged us: In a nation torn by partisanship and a world torn by war and hate, “can we find a sensible center?” – not so much political compromise, but common ground founded on common values and a common vision.

At that center, he said, is the heart and the center of the teachings of Jesus: “God is love” (John 4:8) and “My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you” (John 15:12).

Asked about “Christian nationalism,” a concept I believe the nation’s founders would soundly and roundly reject, Bishop Curry recalled our founding principle: “All men are created equal.”

He recited the words on our Statue of Liberty: “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore.”

A recent poll, he said, found that 84% of all Americans, of all faiths or lack thereof, agree that Jesus was a great spiritual leader whose teachings are worth studying.

But, asked what they think of His followers, less than 50% of Americans had positive feelings.

As the London Underground says, Bishop Curry noted, “mind the gap.”

He had been in London, he said in an aside, to speak “at a wedding.” He added, “It was on TV.”

It was, of course, Harry and Meghan.

That’s where millions around the world met Curry, who lives in Raleigh and was bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of North Carolina. In June 2015, he was elected to a nine-year term as presiding bishop and primate of The Episcopal Church worldwide. He is the church’s chief pastor, spokesperson, and president and chief executive officer.

He is a gifted, funny and charismatic preacher.

He had his audience nodding, laughing, applauding and, above all, thinking.

He called on us to follow another of Jesus’s teachings: “Do to others as you would have them do to you.”