North Carolina Newspapers

    Photos provided by Patrice Toney
New-Bishop Michael Curry was ordained Deacon-in-Charge and then Rector of St. Stephen's Episcopal Church in Winston-Salem between 1978 and 1982. Here
he leads a Bible study class in 1980.
Pholo provided by Patrice Toney
Bishop Michael Curry
of the U.S. Episcopal
Church is being
installed as presiding
bishop.
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Presiding Bishop Michael Curry of the US. Episcopal Church is congratulated
by outgoing Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, who was the first
woman in the job.
Locals see bishop installed
Bishop
from page AI
ues today due to his
passion for social justice
and fighting poverty.
Toney was among the
members of St. Stephen's
who attended last Sunday's
installation and described
the event as full of "pomp
and circumstance." Being
held in the Washington
National Cathedral added
to the elegance of the
event, according to Toney,
but what she will always
remember is the diversity
of the participants. "Every
age, race and culture was
represented. Parts of the
service were in other lan
guages, a choir from St.
Thomas, the Virgin Islands,
performed. Native
Americans played the
drums and chanted. It was
the most diverse body of
people I've ever wit
nessed."
The 62-year-old Curry
served as Bishop of the
Diocese of North Carolina
for the past 15 years before
being elected to the posi
tion of presiding bishop of
the U.S. Episcopal Church.
Father Steve Rice, rector of
St. Timothy's Episcopal
Church in Winston-Salem,
remarked, "I will always
remember Bishop Curry as
a bishop who was not
afraid, who was attentive,
and understood the impor
tance of laughter. As in
demand as he always was,
he would always respond
to texts or emails and he
always made time for me,
I
even when we were in dis
agreement."
Rice recounted a time
at the end of September
when he and Bishop Curry
had lunch. "Our conversa
tion flowed from church
politics to theological con
troversies to our favorite
Western television show.
As we walked back to his
office, knowing this would
be our moment together, I
asked for his blessing. He
put his hands on my head,
as a father to a son, and
gave me his blessing. A
man who would lead the
Episcopal Church and be
an important voice in the
Anglican Commission was
a shepherd to one of his
flock, which at that
moment, was all that mat
tered."
Curry's ability to give
his undivided attention to
each individual was also
expressed by Father
Lawrence Womack, rector
of St. Anne's Episcopal
Church. Womack recalled,
"Since meeting Father
Curry in 1996, I have
learned much from him.
Most importantly, I have
seen him in patient and
earnest discussion with all
types of people - young
children to octogenarians,
friends and enemies, alike.
He is consistently present
with all people who find
themselves in his presence.
One such example was on
an ordinary Sunday morn
ing in Baltimore - two
services down and (possi
bly) one more to go, he
stood at the Crossing in St.
James' Church talking with
parishioners - some who
were happy with something
and others who had com
plaints about other things.
He attended to each with
the same level of concern
and care, all while gently
attending to his youngest
daughter, who was more
than ready to get home."
To Womack, one of the
most extraordinary things
about Curry is "he is con
sistently present with folks
in the ordinary stuff of their
lives. In whatever capacity,
whether he makes a deci
sion with which they agree
or disagree, he communi
cates his care for them as
his sisters and brothers - all
members of God's family.
He truly listens and hears
and values the depth of
people's concerns. As a
person, as. a priest, as the
Bishop of North Carolina
and now, as Presiding
Bishop, Michael Curry is
caring of and careful with
people in the ordinary stuff
of their lives and that is
what makes him extraordi
nary."
Toney also noted this
patient concern after the
end of his installation when
Bishop Curry made a point
to meet and greet every
person who wanted to con
gratulate him. Although
the line was long, he stayed
until he had met every per
son. Toney believes Bishop
Curry will unify the
Episcopal Church. Toney
recalled that in his sermon,
he said, "God didn't call us
to religion, but to love our
neighbors."
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