GREENSBORO — As the spiritual leader for the Episcopal Diocese of North Carolina, which roughly covers the central part of the state, Bishop Michael Curry often joins in the creativity of the Greensboro parishes.
“I think their legacy is in finding creative ways that really do engage people in issues — not always having to fix them but to engage people in problem solving,” he said on the steps of Holy Trinity during its 100th anniversary celebration in 2010, which focused on spirituality and the arts.
Curry, in his attention-drawing purple clerical shirt and carrying a hooked wooden staff, led local congregations in a re-creation of the Stations of the Cross at Easter in 2013, with the downtown business district as a backdrop for the symbolic journey.
He was the main speaker when St. Francis hosted a “U2charist” — a service using popular U2 band songs such as “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” and “City of Blinding Lights” to help to spread the Christian message of loving one’s neighbor as oneself .
With Curry’s recent election as presiding bishop of the 2.4 million-member Episcopal Church of the United States, the flock of 49,000 here is gearing up to say goodbye in a personal way.
Three celebrations on Saturdays over the next two months have been planned across the 38-county district, which is made up of 112 congregations and nine campus ministries. They include a Sept. 26 gathering at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church, 2105 W. Market St. The others are: Oct. 3 at Christ Church in Charlotte and Oct. 10 at Good Shepherd in Raleigh. Details are available at www.episdionc.org or by calling the diocese office.
Curry has served as a bishop over one of the state’s three Episcopalian districts for the last 14 years. He is the first African-American elected to the nine-year term as the denomination’s presiding bishop, the chief pastor and the leader of the church.
While endearing himself to parishioners, Curry is also known for having a voice and encouraging in the Moral Monday protests in the state capital, which have drawn tens of thousands of people.
He often said that the common thread throughout the Bible is to love one another, “No ifs, ands or buts.”
“We’ve known in North Carolina that we have had something special, so it’s not much of a surprise that he’s taking on … such a national profile,” said the Rev. Bernard Owens, the rector at St. Andrew’s.
It is a mixed sense of grief and excitement for people here, Owens said of seeing Curry leave North Carolina to lead the entire denomination.
“But, it’s a real celebration for the church,” Owens said.
Curry, the author of “Crazy Christians,” a book of sermons, began his ministry at St. Stephen’s in Winston-Salem, where he was rector from 1979 to 1982.
Curry would later serve Episcopalian parishes in Ohio and Maryland, before his election to lead an Episcopalian diocese in North Carolina.
In May, he was named one of four finalists from across the country to lead the denomination, which is made up of 2.4 million people in the United States and abroad, and is part of the Anglican Communion, a global community of 74 million people in 38 member provinces throughout the world.
He was elected presiding bishop in June.
A liturgy marking the beginning of Curry’s ministry as presiding bishop is scheduled for Nov. 1 at the historic Washington National Cathedral in Washington.