The Right Reverend Michael B. Curry ’75, current Bishop of North Carolina and former member of the HWS Board of Trustees, has been named the 27th Presiding Bishop and Primate of the Episcopal Church. On June 27, the Episcopal House of Bishops elected Curry to a nine-year term from a slate of four nominees on the first ballot, receiving 121 votes of 174 cast. When he takes office on Nov. 1, 2015, Curry will become the first African-American in the church’s top leadership office.
Born in Chicago, Ill., Curry grew up in Buffalo, N.Y., where his father, the late Rev. Kenneth S. Curry, served as rector of St. Philip’s Episcopal Church. After graduating from Hobart College with a degree in religious studies, Curry earned his Master of Divinity degree in 1978 from Yale University Divinity School.
Ordained as a deacon in 1978 at St. Paul’s Cathedral in Buffalo, and to the priesthood later that year at St. Stephen’s Church, Winston-Salem, N.C., Curry served as rector of St. Stephen’s until 1982, when he became rector of St. Simon of Cyrene Episcopal Church in Lincoln Heights, Ohio. He became rector of St. James Church in Baltimore, Md., serving from 1988 until his election in 2000 as the eleventh bishop of Episcopal Diocese of North Carolina. He served as a member of the Hobart and William Smith Board of Trustees from 1988 until 1992.
In his three parish ministries in North Carolina, Ohio, and Maryland, Curry had extensive involvement in Crisis Control Ministry, founding of ecumenical summer day camps for children, preaching missions, the Absalom Jones initiative, creation of networks of family day care providers, creation of educational centers, and the brokering of millions of dollars of investment in inner city neighborhoods. He inspired a $2.5-million restoration of the St. James’ church building after a fire. The St. James’ After School Academy was designated a Jubilee Ministry by Presiding Bishop Edmund Browning.
Curry has continued his studies at The College of Preachers, Princeton Theological Seminary, Wake Forest University, the Ecumenical Institute at St. Mary’s Seminary, and the Institute of Christian Jewish Studies. He has received honorary degrees from Sewanee University and Yale and serves on the boards of a number of organizations, including the Alliance for Christian Media and the Day1 Advisory Committee. A member of the Commission on Ministry in each of the three dioceses where he has served, Curry has a national preaching and teaching ministry and has been featured on The Protestant Hour and as a frequent speaker at conferences around the country. He and his wife, Sharon, have two daughters, Rachel and Elizabeth.
Curry will succeed outgoing Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, the first woman to lead the U.S. Episcopal Church and 39th recipient of Hobart and William Smith Colleges’ Elizabeth Blackwell Award.
A liturgy marking the beginning of Curry’s ministry as presiding bishop and primate will be celebrated Nov. 1, All Saints Day, at Washington National Cathedral, according to the Episcopal News Service.
Visit the links below to read more about Bishop Curry’s election: