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US Episcopal church elects first black presiding bishop

A church in Lahore/FILE

A church in Lahore/FILE

WASHINGTON, Jun 28 – The US Episcopal Church elected Bishop Michael Curry on Saturday as its next presiding bishop, making him the first African-American leader of the 2.5 million-strong church.

“Nothing can stop the movement of God’s love in this world,” Curry said at the church’s 77th General Convention, held in Salt Lake City, Utah.

The clergyman, known for an energetic preaching style, has said he would focus on evangelism and acts of service, along with a “churchwide spiritual revival.”

“In this mission moment of the church’s life,” he said, “the primary role of the presiding bishop must be CEO in another sense: Chief Evangelism Officer, to encourage, inspire and support us all to claim the calling of the Jesus movement.”

Chicago native Curry, 62, earlier served in Baltimore, Maryland; since 2000, he has been bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of North Carolina. He studied divinity at Yale University.

The US Episcopal Church is a branch of the 80 million-member Anglican Communion, with churches across the globe and its origins in the Church of England.

Curry, known for espousing what he calls “radical hospitality” and the Christian message of God’s grace and love, will take over from Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, who was the faith’s first female presiding bishop. She finishes her nine-year term November 1.

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