Presiding Bishop Michael Curry

The ocean-facing courtyard of Cape Coast Slave Castle. Photo: Mary Frances Schjonberg/Episcopal News Service

[Episcopal News Service] Presiding Bishop Michael Curry will lead a weeklong Episcopal Relief & Development pilgrimage focused on reconciliation to Ghana Jan. 20-28, visiting cities and sites critical to understanding the trans-Atlantic slave trade and Episcopal Relief & Development partners and programs working to improve Ghanaians’ lives.

“At General Convention in 2015, we promised to address systemic, structural racism as a church. One of the first steps is learning the stories: how our church supported and prospered because of slavery and oppression, how black people have related to one another, how Ghanaian communities bear huge gifts and wisdom into the world today. That’s what this pilgrimage is all about,” said the Rev. Stephanie Spellers, canon to the presiding bishop for evangelism, reconciliation and creation.

An estimated 12 to 25 million Africans passed through Ghana’s ports to be sold as slaves in the United States, Latin America and the Caribbean. Pilgrims will visit Cape Coast Castle, the W.E.B. DuBois Center, Elmina Castle and Pikworo Slave Camp for a historical perspective on the slave trade. They will also have an opportunity to meet Episcopal Relief & Development’s partners, including the Anglican Diocesan Development and Relief Organization in the Anglican Diocese of Tamale, and to witness its asset-based community development work.

“Episcopal Relief & Development is honored that the presiding bishop is leading this pilgrimage of brother and sister bishops along with current and former members of our board,” said Rob Radtke, president of Episcopal Relief & Development. “Our Ghanaian church partners and my colleagues look forward to sharing our asset-based community development work with the pilgrims in the northern part of the country, and later traveling to the Cape Coast to pray and reflect on the trans-Atlantic slave trade and the work of reconciliation required of all of us as followers of Jesus.”

Britain abolished the slave trade in 1807; the U.S. President Thomas Jefferson signed a law prohibiting the importation of slaves. The Episcopal Church and individual Episcopalians benefited from the slave trade. The 75th General Convention sought to address the church’s role in slavery.

Pilgrims will share photos, thoughts and videos of on a designated Facebook page, where Episcopalians and others can follow their journey. Episcopal News Service coverage and a video will follow the pilgrimage.

“We hope people everywhere will pray and join our reconciliation witness on Facebook. Most of us will never make the trip to Ghana. We’ll never see the camps where enslaved Africans were herded before being torn from the Mother Land, or see the Anglican church that rises like a blessing behind the main slave castle. So, we will go, and we will reflect and film and return to help our whole church to keep reckoning and changing,” said Spellers.

— Lynette Wilson in an editor and reporter for Episcopal News Service.

The ocean-facing courtyard of Cape Coast Slave Castle. Photo: Mary Frances Schjonberg/Episcopal News Service [Episcopal News Service] Presiding Bishop Michael Curry will lead a weeklong Episcopal Relief & Development pilgrimage focused on...

Allow me to talk about the vision of the Jesus Movement on the practical  churchwide level and what that really begins to look like and how embracing that has obvious implications for budget and structure and engagement.

This is the result of work by the officers and canons who have been working together, and by the way, we meet together monthly to think on a broader strategic level, and it’s one way to unite or bring together every aspect of the DFMS (Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society).  We just started that and it really does seem to be an effective way to make sure that we’re all in touch with each other on that broader level. That decision was an outgrowth of the work that we did with the Human Synergistics folk that led to this diagram. The intent here was to really flesh out what does it mean to be a church that embodies the Way of Jesus of Nazareth in our common life together as a whole church. It’s really clear that the actual life of the church gets lived in our congregations, our lay and clergy people, it is lived as people of God as Verna Dozier used to say, “The real action happens when the dismissal get said, ‘Go into the world’”, that’s when the action happens.

And so how do we on a churchwide level actually enable that to happen throughout the entire church?  And this is one way to begin to look at that.  Let me just walk you through.  We looked at the Jesus Movement, began to think “OK, now let’s put some more language on that so that it just doesn’t become a rhetorical frame, so that it begins to take on life.”  It took us a while to get there but then we finally realized that what we’re talking about is a community of people who are committed by their baptism, as baptized disciples of Jesus Christ, to live the way of Jesus.

And when you look at the light of Jesus of Nazareth, there are a lot of things that you would expect.  This brother was and is incredibly loving, and that love liberates folk, and liberation gives life to folk.  Liberated people can live the life that God has dreamed from the beginning.  Loving, liberating, life-giving.

It was in the parable this morning, the lawyer comes to Jesus, he says love God, love your neighbor and all that stuff.  And Jesus says to him do this and you will live. That this Jesus is loving, liberating, life-giving, and his way is loving, liberating and live-giving, you see that up at the top, the movement is about a community of people baptized and committed to living that and helping this world to reflect that.  It doesn’t even have to make everybody Episcopalian though that would be nice, it wouldn’t be bad, but that is not the point of it. The point of it is to transform the world so that it looks something as Bishop Stokes said last night something like the reign, the kingdom of God in our world.  Like the Lord’s Prayer, “Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”

And so that top piece of the chart was kind of fleshing out the Jesus Movement a little bit more, just in that simple statement, “Following Jesus into a loving, liberating, life-giving relationship with God and with each other,” is the summary of the law Jesus already taught us. We’re not coming up with anything new.  We are living the way of Jesus.  That is the way we are headed, we are people of the way, Jesus is our direction.

And then at our General Convention we were aware of this and we talked about this. General Convention identified three mission priorities and two were very clear and when the officers and canons met we realized when were together that there was a third. That’s where the third one came from, General Convention was clear about Evangelism and Reconciliation but we know Environmental Stewardship is critically important in this moment too, because all too often people needing liberation are the ones who experience firsthand the harmful impact of what happens when we don’t care for God’s creation.  So we focus on those three.

I was at a gathering with other Bishops and Archbishops when I was asked to explain the actions of our General Convention, with particular interest in our changing the marriage canon.  There were obviously questions and concerns, but I can tell you that when I said that this reflects who we are in Christ, that that’s how we are living into being followers of Jesus Christ and reflecting what St. Paul said in Galatians 3, “All who are baptized into Christ have put on Christ, there are no longer Jew or Greek, slave or free, male or female, all are one in Christ.” Our brothers and sisters listened, even where there might be disagreement.

Then I said, “Now, the next thing you need to know that our General Convention did, we worked on Evangelism.”  We are really talking about participating in re-evangelization of the West.  And re-evangelization in a way and evangelism that actually looks something like Jesus of Nazareth and not like cultural accretions around Jesus of Nazareth.  And that’s an important distinction to make.

And I have to tell you the room changed. One bishop actually asked, “The Episcopal Church is actually doing Evangelism?”  And I said, “My Brother, that’s what we’re about. I wouldn’t be a Presiding Bishop if we weren’t doing that.” That is what we are talking about. The room, the conversation changed and focused on Evangelism.

And then when we went to Racial Reconciliation. Others in the world know about the racial and other polarizations in American society. They knew about Charleston, they knew about our struggles here.

The gospel work of Racial Reconciliation and the work of Evangelism really did resonate.

And the third one, when I talked about Environmental Stewardship, at first they said, “What are you talking about?”  I said, “About the care of God’s creation.”  “What are you talking about?”  If we mess up the earth where we all have to live then none of us is going live!  And then they started talking about ways in which damage to the climate and the environment is impacting them directly.  My point is the three mission priorities, which is the three pillar-like things there actually resonate beyond our church because they have to do with our following the way of Jesus, helping to make this world and this global community something that really does resemble God’s dream and not our nightmare.

And so General Convention did that and that’s what those three represent. Then we kept looking at what is the work of the church because General Convention set those missional priorities: Evangelism, Racial Reconciliation and Environmental Stewardship.  That doesn’t mean that’s all we’re doing because there is an ongoing life of the church that makes work on those priorities possible.

That next foundational piece, the ongoing work of the church, there’s a lot of stuff that goes on in that area, that’s ongoing, and that’s part of the life and the mission of the church.  Some of that ongoing work is work within the Episcopal Church to support and nurture it and to encourage the work that actually happens in congregations and in the life of our people. I’ve said this before, we don’t need the church-wide community to do what dioceses do better, and we don’t need the church-wide community and the dioceses to do what congregations do better. There are roles for all to play. We don’t need to try to replicate on a churchwide level what a congregation or a diocese does. We need to do at the churchwide level what we can’t do at other levels and do that in what’s which bring everybody together throughout our church.

And so the ongoing work of the church and the work of keeping us together in our churchwide community, is important.  It helps us do the other work.  Some of this has to do with our life together within the church, and some of it has to do with our life together beyond the Episcopal Church in terms of Anglican Communion, our ecumenical and interfaith relationships, as well as our relationships with government, whether it be with U.S. government in particular or the United Nations.  So you have ongoing work within the Episcopal Church, ongoing work beyond the Episcopal Church.

And then the foundation at the bottom.  Governance, finance, and legal.  That’s the stuff that keeps the machinery going. I used to say when I was a parish priest that I spent most of my time with doctors and morticians.  When I became a bishop I spent my time mostly with lawyers and Russ Randall and his friends, I mean his employers.  Governance, finance, legal, all of it, operations, that’s the stuff that undergirds, it helps this ministry work, it greases the wheels, it actually helps us get going again, and it helps us to plan for good strategic and efficient ways forward.

That’s the big broader picture of what might this Jesus Movement might look like on a churchwide level, both in terms of how we kind of organize, maybe even how we do our budget, but it’s a way of conceptualizing, the pillars, mission priorities, the ongoing work of the church within without, and legal, financial, operation that makes it all happen.

This is a way for our particular time.  Each new age and each new generation must discern how it will faithfully live out the Gospel of Jesus.  But this represents a way for this particular period of time, and nothing is final, nothing is settled except for the kingdom of God. We are a movement after all. And our church has a long and faithful history, I’ve seen it, of faithful witness to the Gospel of Jesus. And in our time it may be to awaken that in some new ways. I heard once that Billy Sunday the evangelist, at one point, this must have been turn of the century, the 19th or 20th century, he apparently said, “Heaven help the rest of Protestantism if the Episcopal Church ever wakes up.”  And I heard that saying but I didn’t really know the context or the history of it and I quoted it in New York at the Church Club dinner and Bishop Dietsche and one of the priests came up and they told me the backstory of that quote which I had wondered about -was it a compliment, was it a backhanded compliment, I wasn’t quite sure what he really meant by it.  And this priest who I believe is at St. George’s said the story behind that quote is that Billy Sunday had been invited to St. George’s Church in New York to actually do a revival there.  He had never visited an Episcopal church before, and he came and did his revival thing and he happened to walk in the pews and he saw a Book of Common Prayer and he started reading the Book of Common Prayer.  And as he read the Book of Common Prayer, he lifted his head and said, “Heaven help the rest of the Protestant world if the Episcopal Church ever wakes up.”

My Brothers and Sisters, we are awake.

God bless.

Allow me to talk about the vision of the Jesus Movement on the practical  churchwide level and what that really begins to look like and how embracing that has obvious implications for budget and structure and engagement. This is the result of work...
Tagged in: Lent Michael Curry

Clarence Jorden of the Koinonia Movement many years ago wrote this: 

Jesus founded the most revolutionary movement in human history, a movement built on the unconditional love of God for the world, and the mandate to those who follow to live that love.

The season of Lent is upon us.  It is a season of making a renewed commitment to participate and be a part of the movement of Jesus in this world.  You can see some of that in the Gospel lesson for the first Sunday of Lent where Luke says that after the Baptism of Jesus he went into the wilderness, there to be tempted of Satan. 

After the Baptism.  Baptism is the sacrament of commitment to the Jesus Movement. It is to be washed, if you will, in the love and the reality of God, and to emerge from that great washing as one whose life is dedicated to living that love in the world. 

In this season of Lent, we take some time to focus on what that means for our lives, whether it is as simple as giving up chocolate candy or as profound as taking on a commitment to serve the poor or to serve others in some new way. Whatever it is, let that something be something that helps you participate in the movement of God’s love in this world following in the footsteps of Jesus. 

And the truth is, the fact that Jesus was baptized and began that movement in the world and immediately found himself tempted by the devil is an ever-present reminder that this movement is not without struggle. It is not easy. The truth is, this movement is difficult. It’s hard work. It’s work of following Jesus to the cross. And it’s work of following Jesus through the cross to the Resurrection. To new life. And new possibility. That is our calling. That is the work of the movement. To help this world move from what is often the nightmare of the world itself into the dream that God intends. 

So I pray that this Lent, as they used to say many years ago, might be the first day of the rest of your life. It might be a new day for this world. 

God love you. God bless you. Have a blessed Lent, a glorious Easter, and you keep the faith. 

 

The Most Rev. Michael Curry

Presiding Bishop and Primate

The Episcopal Church

Clarence Jorden of the Koinonia Movement many years ago wrote this:  Jesus founded the most revolutionary movement in human history, a movement built on the unconditional love of God for the world, and the mandate to those who follow to live that...
Tagged in: Michael Curry

Before I say a word about our gathering here at the Primates Meeting, I just want to say a word of thank you to you for all of your prayers: your prayers for this meeting, your prayers for me personally, both here and in my earlier sickness. We are well, and God is God, and I thank you.

Let me say a word about the meeting.

This is not the outcome we expected, and while we are disappointed, it’s important to remember that the Anglican Communion is really not a matter of structure and organization. The Anglican Communion is a network of relationships that have been built on mission partnerships; relationships that are grounded in a common faith; relationships in companion diocese relationships; relationships with parish to parish across the world; relationships that are profoundly committed to serving and following the way of Jesus of Nazareth by helping the poorest of the poor, and helping this world to be a place where no child goes to bed hungry ever. That’s what the Anglican Communion is, and that Communion continues and moves forward.

This has been a disappointing time for many, and there will be heartache and pain for many, but it’s important to remember that we are still part of the Anglican Communion. We are the Episcopal Church, and we are part of the Jesus Movement, and that Movement goes on, and our work goes on. And the truth is, it may be part of our vocation to help the Communion and to help many others to grow in a direction where we can realize and live the love that God has for all of us, and we can one day be a Church and a Communion where all of God’s children are fully welcomed, where this is truly a house of prayer for all people. And maybe it’s a part of our vocation to help that to happen. And so we must claim that high calling; claim the high calling of love and faith; love even for those with whom we disagree, and then continue, and that we will do, and we will do it together.

We are part of the Jesus Movement, and the cause of God’s love in this world can never stop and will never be defeated.

God love you. God bless you. And you keep the faith. And we move forward.

 

Before I say a word about our gathering here at the Primates Meeting, I just want to say a word of thank you to you for all of your prayers: your prayers for this meeting, your prayers for me personally, both here and in my earlier sickness. We are...

Six years ago today, a tremendous earthquake of historic magnitude shattered the lives of Haitian mothers, fathers, sisters, and brothers. Their cries of lamentation echoed across Haiti even as the aftershocks continued to rock Port-au-Prince and the surrounding countryside. Haiti, the poorest state in the Western Hemisphere, is also the island-home of a branch of The Episcopal Church. More Episcopal souls live and breathe in the Diocese of Haiti than in any other diocese in the world, and on this day, we stand in solidarity and solemn remembrance with Haitians everywhere.

 

We continue to grieve with families who lost their loved ones in the earthquake and with those who were affected by the cholera epidemic that still ravages the Haitian community. We express gratitude for the lives salvaged from the ruins, for the creative resiliency of the Haitian people, and for new dreams imagined and realized as the rebuilding effort continues, including in the Holy Trinity Cathedral in Port-au-Prince. Finally, we recognize that there is still tremendous work ahead of us to heal, transform, and sustain the country of Haiti.

 

Tens of thousands of Haitians remain displaced from their homes, subsisting in the dangerous and unsanitary conditions of tent camps. The Haitian cholera epidemic has sickened hundreds of thousands of Haitians and ended over 9,000 lives to date. Faced with these enormous challenges, we find hope and strength in our faith. The Haitians have a proverb: Bondye di ou: fè pa M or “God says to you: ‘Do your part, and I’ll do mine.’” God is at work in Haiti, moving with doctors and engineers, teachers and farmers, and reminding and encouraging us to continue our good work. Indeed, as Episcopalians, we have a crucial part to play.

 

We can hold our governments accountable for ensuring that development aid is distributed fairly and transparently, and we can call on policymakers to adequately fund the Cholera Elimination Plan that delivers much-needed supplies and vaccinations to at-risk Haitians. We can give our time, our expertise, and our funds to the ongoing effort of restoring Haiti and promoting sustainable development therein. And last, we can remember that the Haitian people are our family, our brothers and sisters in Christ, and by working together with them and with our God, we can fulfill the holy task of healing Haiti. 

 

Note: On January 12, 2010, a massive earthquake struck Haiti, a diocese of The Episcopal Church, killing more than 300,000 people, seriously injuring more than 250,000, and leaving 1.3 million homeless. An extensive number of private and public buildings were destroyed including Holy Trinity Cathedral and the affiliated Episcopal institutions in the Cathedral Complex.

Six years ago today, a tremendous earthquake of historic magnitude shattered the lives of Haitian mothers, fathers, sisters, and brothers. Their cries of lamentation echoed across Haiti even as the aftershocks continued to rock Port-au-Prince and...
 

Christmas Message 2015

 

Hello. Our original plan was for me to tape a Christmas message in front of the United Nations building in New York as a way of sending a message that this Jesus of Nazareth whom we follow came to show us the way to a different world, a world rounded in God’s peace and God’s justice, God’s love and God’s compassion.

 

I recently had surgery and so we had to change those plans and so I’m here in Raleigh on Capitol Square. Christ Church is here and we’re filming this message here just as a way of giving me a chance to say “Thank you” to all of you who sent cards and prayers in my recent surgery.  I’m doing well and I’m coming back to work. 

 

But I did want to say something to you.  It occurs to me that this Jesus of Nazareth really does make a difference.  And God coming into the world in the person of Jesus matters profoundly for all of us regardless of our religious tradition.

 

In the park across from the United Nations, the Ralph Bunche Park, the words of the Prophet Isaiah are quoted,

 

They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks

Nation will not rise against nation

Neither shall they learn war any more

 

What’s not there is another part of that passage that’s in the second chapter of Isaiah, and it says,

 

Come, let us go to the mountain of God,

That he may show us His ways and teach us His paths

 

We who follow Jesus believe that the mountain came to us when God came among us in the person of Jesus to show us the way to live, to show us the way to love, to show us the way to transform this world from the nightmare it often is into the dream that God intends for us all.

 

So, as the words were spoken on that night when Jesus was born, peace, good will to all people, God bless you, God keep you.  A blessed Advent, a Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year to all.

  Christmas Message 2015   Hello. Our original plan was for me to tape a Christmas message in front of the United Nations building in New York as a way of sending a message that this Jesus of Nazareth whom we follow came to show us the way to a...
Tagged in: Michael Curry

“Be not afraid!”  

Often in the gospels, fear grips the people of God, and time and again, either the angels, or Our Lord himself, respond with the same words of comfort: “Be not afraid.”  

In times like this fear is real.   And I share that fear with you.  Our instinct tells us to be afraid. The fight-or-flight mentality takes hold.  At the present moment, many across our Church and our world are grasped by fear in response to the terrorist attacks that unfolded in Paris last Friday.  These fears are not unfounded.  We can and should support law enforcement officials who are working hard and at great risk to protect us from crime and keep us safe.   And yet, especially when we feel legitimate fear, our faith reminds us “Be not afraid.”  The larger truth is that our ultimate security comes from God in Christ.

In the Book of Leviticus, God says to the people of Israel that, “the foreigner who resides with you shall be to you as the citizen among you; you shall love the foreigner as yourself, for you were foreigners in the land of Egypt.”  Accordingly, we welcome the stranger.  We love our neighbor.  The Episcopal Church has long been committed to resettling refugees in our own communities fleeing violence and persecution.

The Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society, through its Episcopal Migration Ministries service, works with dioceses and congregations, and the United States government, to settle refugees in communities across this great country.  The Episcopal Church has been engaged in this ministry for more than 75 years.  We will not let the nightmare this world often is keep us from carrying out the words of Jesus who told us to be a neighbor to those in need.

Refugees from places like Syria seek to escape the precise same ideological and religious extremism that gave birth to the attacks in Paris.  They seek entry into our communities because their lives are imprisoned by daily fear for their existence.   Just as Jesus bids us not to be afraid, we must, in turn, pass those words of comfort to those who turn to us for help.

But Jesus calls us to go even further: not just to love our neighbors and our kin, but to love our enemies.  This is particularly difficult when we are afraid.    But even in the midst of our fear we stand on the solid ground of our faith and proclaim the faith in Christ crucified and risen from the dead.  In practical terms, this may mean finding strength in prayer, or in our neighbors, or in our churches, or in acts of solidarity with others who live in fear.   This is the hope that casts out fear.  

The fear is real.  So we pray.  We go to church.  We remember who we are in Jesus.   Our resurrection hope is larger than fear.   Let nothing keep us from that hope, that faith, that security in Gods dream for all of humanity.

“Be not afraid!”

“Be not afraid!”   Often in the gospels, fear grips the people of God, and time and again, either the angels, or Our Lord himself, respond with the same words of comfort: “Be not afraid.”   In times like this fear is real.   And I share that fear...

Opening remarks to Executive Council
The Most Rev. Michael B. Curry
Presiding Bishop and Primate
November 15, 2015

Got my hand on the gospel plow
Wouldn't take nothing for my journey now
Keep your eyes on the prize.
Hold on. Hold on.
Keep your eyes on the prize.
Hold on

My hope was to really share my deep prayer for us in the homily at Eucharist this morning. Following the way of Jesus will really guide us. And that Holy Spirit will really lead us. So, keep your eyes on the prize.

I want to say something about my new best friend at table one - President of the House of Deputies Gay Jennings.  She and HOD vice president Bryon Rushing visited me in North Carolina and that was really good.  We ate together, and really started our work together.

I have said it before, but please allow me to say it again. I am very much looking forward to working with President Jennings. We've already been working together over the summer. And it's a real blessing. I also want to thank the members of the Nominating Committee and the Transition Committee for their faithful work and deep care for me and for the nominees for Presiding Bishop. And thank you to us all.

All the members of the staff, and Canon Barlowe – we have been working together.

We will keep moving.

I know there have been other General Conventions when significant things have happened. But I don't think it an overstatement to say, but the 78th General Convention of The Episcopal Church was a real blessing for us all. It wasn't perfect. Only God is perfect. But that Convention really did some remarkable work. It didn't just happen overnight. It was the outgrowth of many years of hard work by so many who have worked in so many ways, many of whom are sitting in this room. That Convention was the result of all of us together praying hard, worshipping, listening to what the Spirit is saying to the churches, and daring to say, we're going to follow Jesus as the Episcopal Church. And with the Spirit working in us, we worked through our differences, had our debates, did a little fussing along the way, and stepped out and followed Jesus. There was a sense coming out of that convention was a clarion call

I think the Spirit is messing with us. Working on us.

I think we all heard it:  Evangelism and Racial Reconciliation.

That gives us an enormous opportunity as Executive Council, as the board of the church, to show shared leadership in following Jesus. 

That Convention gave us a clarion call and clarified our common mission in this mission moment of our life together.

It was a call for a church wide focus on evangelism and racial reconciliation as how we can live fully as the movement of Jesus in this world.

The first has to do with us. I want to talk about how we do our work together.  I am very aware and committed to us being a community of faith where the ministry what Jesus has called us to be through Baptism.   For Real.  It’s not only about what we do but it’s how we work together.

I really believe we’re better when we work together. We need all our voices and all our gifts.  It may be more cumbersome, we may bump into each other and have different ideas, but the end product is better if we’re all in on it then if somebody goes off working alone.

The end product will be better.  It is a little more cumbersome but we will get there.

St. Paul actually figured this out. In Romans 12, 1 Corinthians 12, and also Ephesians 4 he figures out the spiritual principles that can give order to the movement so that the movement actually moves forward, following Jesus.

These were the days of the movement.  It wasn’t a highly organized structure.  It was a movement with lots of moving parts.  Paul figured out the spiritual principals for the movement, the movement continues. 

It's where he called us the body of Christ, composed of hands and feet, all needed, all part of the body. But he wisely reminded the diverse gifts and parts of the body, that while there are a varieties of gifts, they are all manifestations of the same Spirit. We need all parts of the body but we need to function as a body, the body of Christ.

There really is great hope and excitement about that. But it is important for all things, even movements, to be done "decently and in order."

If Christ is the head.  If Christ is the mind, we will be moving together. Having the mind of Christ will determine where the whole body will go together.

Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of services, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who activates all of them in everyone. To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.

How do we get this all to work together.  Executive Council, the General Convention Office, The Presiding Bishop’s staff – Maybe we should step back and think – now how do we do this together.

Let me make two offerings that may help us move forward. I've shared these at the weekly meeting of the officers composed of the Presiding Bishop, the President of the House of Deputies, the Executive Officer of the General Convention, the Chief Operation Officer, the Chief Finance Officer.

Between now and February, I will ask the staff of the Presiding Bishop to work with me to develop a proposal that articulates a process design for how we work together, how our diverse parts might work together going forward in the work of evangelism and racial reconciliation, and in all we do.  I want to work together respecting and honoring the unique roles and gifts of each of us as members of the Executive Council, the governing board of our church between conventions, as Presiding Officers and Officers of the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society, and as staff of the Presiding Bishop. All of us following what God is calling us to be.

I would like for us to be able to develop a process for how we do our work together in ways that early are a real partnership, genuinely collaborative, and yet honoring the wisdom of unique roles, responsibility and authority.

We will have some agreed upon clarity and we’ll talk about it in February. It is my intention to have that proposal developed in consultation with the Officers for your consideration. I think if we do this work between now and February that can enable us to then begin to move forward together.

Secondly, and this comes from how I’ve learned to work as a bishop.  I’ve been a priest a long time, and a bishop a long time. One way a bishop can help the system – and this is really the way I lead – is to have people directly connected to me helping different parts of the system simultaneously and making sure I was always connected to and aware of what was going on. In North Carolina I learned that it helped to have a few canons who were direct links between the congregations and the bishop.  We all worked together.  I would like to call a third Canon to the Presiding Bishop. As you know Chuck  Robertson is now serving as Canon to the Presiding Bishop for Ministries Beyond the Episcopal Church, and Michael Hunn as Canon to the Presiding Bishop for Ministry within the Episcopal Church. Both Michael and Chuck are working together with each other and with me.

If we are really going to do this evangelism and racial reconciliation for real, we got to have some hands on the ground.  We need a third canon to do this.  This canon would be Canon to the Presiding Bishop for Evangelism and Racial Reconciliation. As with the other two Canons, this canon would be responsible for carrying out the direct ministry of the Presiding Bishop in the work of evangelism and racial reconciliation, working together with our staff and church wide community toward these ends.

I have been working with Bishop Stacy Sauls as Chief Operating Officer and we spend time all the time to move forward.  Stacy is coordinating the efforts of the staff’s work.  Gay and I are in regular contact.  Michael (Barlowe) and I are in regular contact.

I know it’s kind of a buzz word these days, but I actually function pretty collaboratively.  You discern the mind of Christ better with the body than on your own. 

So we’re going to do this together. We’re going to do the work together.

Opening remarks to Executive CouncilThe Most Rev. Michael B. CurryPresiding Bishop and PrimateNovember 15, 2015 Got my hand on the gospel plowWouldn't take nothing for my journey nowKeep your eyes on the prize.Hold on. Hold on.Keep your eyes on the...

From left to right: Bishop Suffragan of Dalls, Presiding Bishop Michael B. Curry, Bishop Jim Stanton

Bishop Stanton walking arm in arm to lunch after Bishop Elect Sumner addressed the Convention

 

From left to right: Bishop Suffragan of Dalls, Presiding Bishop Michael B. Curry, Bishop Jim Stanton Bishop Stanton walking arm in arm to lunch after Bishop Elect Sumner addressed the Convention  

Bishop Elect George Sumner speaking to the Diocese of Dallas

 

Bishop Elect George Sumner speaking to the Diocese of Dallas