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Friday October 7th

NC Episcopal bishop prepares for new national role

Rev. Michael Curry's congregation just got a lot larger, as the North Carolina bishop will take on the nine-year role as the presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church Nov. 1.

Curry, the first African American to hold the national title, has led congregations statewide for 15 years as the bishop of North Carolina.

Rev. Tambria Lee, the associate for campus ministry at The Chapel of the Cross — located on Franklin Street. — said Curry is a Moses-type leader of the church.

“What you see is what you get,” she said. “He has no public persona or private persona, just a persona.”

She said Chapel of the Cross is thrilled by Curry’s election and looking forward to his work for the Episcopal Church.

UNC junior Mike Arneson, a UNC junior, said he is excited to see Curry in his new role. 

“I think Bishop Curry is the one of the nicest, most caring people I've met in my life,” he said. “I am confident that Bishop Curry's selfless personality and shining example of Christian love will take him far and help him succeed in any leadership position within the church.”

Arneson was not raised Episcopalian but decided to join the church when he came to UNC because of its welcoming nature.

“As I learned more about the Episcopal Church in general and the liberal views it holds about virtually everything — from gay marriage to Biblical interpretations — I realized it embodied the type of love I believe God calls us to,” he said.

Curry said he is eager to continue tackling large social issues the church has already addressed, as well as setting new goals for the future.

Curry said the Episcopal Church works with other Christian denominations and even some Jewish and Islamic organizations through its Office of Government Relations in Washington, D.C. They work specifically with issues relating to poverty, education and children.

“The goal now is by 2030 to eliminate poverty from the face of the earth,” Curry said. “That may seem like an incredible goal, but if you don’t have something to strive for, you’ll never get there.”

Curry said two of the main things he will emphasize in office are evangelism and reconciliation. He said he wants the church to present a way of being Christian that is deeply grounded in the love of God.

“Not the kind of evangelism that beats up anybody,” he said. 

He said he thinks evangelism should help others and avoid judgment.

“That kind of way of being Christian looks like Jesus," Curry said.

While eager to take on his new leadership role, Curry said he knows it will be a big transition.

“My hope is nine years from now, the whole Episcopal Church and our people and our clergy and everybody will know something about their own spiritual journey, their own story, and be able to listen to the stories of others," he said. "It’s in that listening and sharing of our stories and our lives, that’s very often where we discover God’s been involved in our lives all along.”

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