US Episcopal Church chooses first black presiding bishop

(Photo: Reuters / Jonathan Ernst)Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori delivers the homily at her investiture as the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church at the National Cathedral in Washington, November 4, 2006.

The U.S. Episcopal Church has elected its first black presiding bishop in Salt Lake City, where the Anglican denomination is discussing its stance on same-sex marriage, the Israel-Palestine issue and gun violence.

Episcopal Church leaders elected Bishop Michael Curry of North Carolina on June 27 to replace outgoing Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, the first female to lead the Protestant denomination.

The Episcopal Church is part of the 80-million strong Anglican Communion from June 22 to July 3 for its 78th General Convention its top governing body.

The issue of same-sex marriage is one that has threatened to split the Anglican Communio n in the past and has also caused divisions in churches belonging to what are called "mainline Protestants" in North America.

The 62-year-old Curry was one of four bishops standing for the leadership of the church with some two million members.

He clinched a landslide in the election garnering 121 votes while the other three candidates had 21 votes or less decision was affirmed on a vote of 800-12 by the House of Deputies, The Associated Press reported.

Curry, 62, was one of four bishops up for election to lead the two-million member church. He won by a landslide with 121 votes, compared to his closest competitor who earned 21 votes, according to results posted online.

The presiding bishop serves a nine-year term and Curry will take over on Nov. 1.

(Photo: Episcopal Church)Bishop Michael Curry 2015.

Born in Chicago, Illinois, on March 13, 1953, Bishop Curry attended public schools in Buffalo, New York, and graduated with high honors from Hobart College in Geneva, New York, in 1975.                                                           

He received the Master of Divinity degree in 1978 from Yale University Divinity School.

He has also done further study 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.

In his three parish ministries in North Carolina, Ohio, and Maryland, Bishop Curry had extensive involvement in Crisis Control Ministry, founding of ecumenical summer day camps for children.

He preached missions worked on the the Absalom Jones initiative, the creation of networks of family day care providers, setting up educational centers, and the brokering of millions of dollars of investment in inner city neighborhoods.

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