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Presiding Bishop Curry at the National Press Club

Presiding Bishop Curry at the National Press Club

Picking up on themes and words from Martin Luther King, Jr, former Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, St Augustine of Hippo, and Jesus, Presiding Bishop Michael Curry told the National Press Club yesterday that inclusion, racial reconciliation, and evangelism are “tied up with the truth of this Jesus movement.”

That is the most extraordinary … Jesus just said that everything that’s in that Bible is straining and pointing to the love of God, love of neighbor, everything in the Mosaic edifice pointing to love of God, love of neighbor. Religion is totally and completely to be about the love of God and the love of neighbor. And if it’s not about love, it’s not about God. Period. Exclamation point.

It’s not sentimental, said Curry. Jesus’ teachings about love almost all occur in the context of Holy Week, the decision to give up his life for the good of the world. The love of God is about the sacrifice of self-centered interest for the love of God and the love of others.

Following his remarks, the Presiding Bishop fielded questions from the floor, starting with a question about the status of the Episcopal Church in the wake of the Primates’ gathering.

I think the Primates … understood clearly that we as the Episcopal Church – we are certainly committed to the Anglican Communion. We are equally committed to being a church that is a house of prayer for all people. And as I said to them there, we believe in the full inclusion, and marriage equality, whatever the language is – we believe in that not as a social program, but we believe in it because the outstretched arms of Jesus on the cross really are about embracing and welcoming us all, and we are the children of God, created in God’s image and likeness. And I believe that’s what love bids us do. … But that also means that we love you, those of you who disagree with us, with me … and we’re not changing.

Curry said that there shouldn’t be an expectation that the Episcopal Church would change its mind about inclusion and equality in the next three years, nor its love, affection, and commitment to the rest of the Communion.

He said that he believed that while the majority of the Primates voted to censure the church for its challenge to their understanding of the doctrine of marriage, they “did not vote us off the island.” That, said Curry, is “a moderated response that expressed displeasure but that recognized that we are still an Anglican family, and is committed to that…. I think that is potentially an adult response.”

Curry said that in working for racial reconciliation, there would be more coming from the Episcopal Church, and that that work was being undertaken very intentionally.

A question came in by phone from the AP about St George school in Rhode Island, describing the spread of the investigation beyond the school and into other states and dioceses as concerns about individuals were identified. Presiding Bishop Curry responded by detailing how the canons and the church’s approach to sexual abuse and investigations of allegations were changed and tightened in the 1990s since, and that bishops in any of the jurisdictions affected would be following those updated, tighter protocols.

Addressing the theory that young people are being put off religion by the spread of extremism, Curry stressed the Episcopal Church’s recent General Convention’s focus on evangelism, and finding new ways to reach out to populations unfamiliar with the work of the church, and take the church out into the world.

Read more and view the video here. What would you have asked the Presiding Bishop?

Featured image: Presiding Bishop Michael Curry addresses members and guests of the National Press Club on Feb. 8 in Washington, D.C., on the church’s role in creating a more inclusive society. Photo: Lynette Wilson/Episcopal News Service



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Jeremy Bates

“That’s fair.”

No, it is not.

Unequal marriage is not a matter of “core doctrine,” and it does The Episcopal Church an enormous disservice for the PB to suggest that it is.

Unequal marriage is not doctrine. It’s discrimination.

Tracy Lawrence

Well, that clearly depends on one’s perspective. Not everyone agrees with that; and therein lies the problem.

Jeremy Bates

The unity-in-diversity response would be fine, if it were being followed. It’s not.

Isn’t it interesting how the only province getting “consequented” is The Episcopal Church.

It’s an appalling thing for the Primates to do–but then not as appalling, of course, as the life imprisonment that LGBTI people can be subjected to in some parts of the Communion.

All with the local primate’s wink, or even his outright encouragement. And all without any Communion consequences whatsoever.

In sum, the real problem is that The Episcopal Church is being discriminated against because it refuses to discriminate.

John Klopacz

Might it not now be “fair” for the Primates to follow up on this part of their communiqué?
“The Primates condemned homophobic prejudice and violence and resolved to work together to offer pastoral care and loving service irrespective of sexual orientation. This conviction arises out of our discipleship of Jesus Christ. The Primates reaffirmed their rejection of criminal sanctions against same-sex attracted people.”
Sorry to be a one-note Jack, but this seems a small, first step to show good faith on the part of the Global South Primates.

David Allen

a small, first step to show good faith

How many folks must be maimed, imprisoned and killed before that actually do something substantial?

John Chilton

As you may know, John, ACNA says the majority of Gafcon primates had already left when those words were adopted into the communique — they’d achieved what they’d come for, “consequences” (pretty limp consequences, in fact) for The Episcopal Church.

Jeremy Bates

Yes. They could dish it out, but they couldn’t take it.

Don Brownlee

To follow up on Prof. Seitz’ Question #2: Indeed, it has been almost two months now since Bp. Curry put several high-ranking officials on leave. He said the law firm hired to investigate the charges “is expected to brief me about its plan for the investigation early in the new year.” Perhaps Episcopal Cafe could follow up with his office on where this stands?

Tracy Lawrence

“We’re not changing – so there shouldn’t be an expectation that in the next three years the Episcopal Church is going to change,” declared Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Michael Curry about the denomination’s approval of new gender-neutral marriage rites this past July. “This is who we are.” If you listen to Curry speaking, he is recounting this as what he said to the Primates before they voted to consequence TEC. He wasn’t reaffirming this or underscoring it. In fact, the only time he mentioned this in the entire event is when he got a question from a reporter. His talk was about Evangelism and Racial reconciliation and the Jesus movement. He really has a new mission that came out of some of the less publicized votes at the last general convention. He also was clear that he has no idea what the next three years will bring. So there was a wait and see comment about TEC’s future within the Anglican Communion.

christopher seitz

“What would you have asked the Presiding Bishop?”

1. Do your remarks mean that TEC reps will step to the side as requested? That’s what you seem to be saying.

2. It has been over a month since the news came out about your putting several high-ranking officials on leave. How is that going?

3. How is your health?

John Chilton

These are all good questions that I wish were asked. I’m sure Christopher meant no ranking of importance by the order presented.

christopher seitz

My question is IF there is in fact a contradiction, not what do you or I think.

I suspect we will learn in time.

It sounded to me like the PB was acknowledging the gatherings’ statement of consequences. But I could be in error.

Prof. Christopher Seitz


I am genuinely interested in knowing if, e.g., Gay Jennings’ post Canterbury comments still stand, or whether the TEC leadership team has got together and decided a route like +Curry seems to be espousing now.

When there was a name change to ‘TEC’ it seemed to be accompanied by an effort to claim an international church, with lots of flags at GC, etc. I simply wonder if this will be the direction TEC now pursues.

Prayers for +Curry’s health and stamina.

John Chilton

And now we’re in our usual position – not agreeing.

I don’t see any contradiction between Curry’s comments and Jennings’ comments.

As to the name The Episcopal Church it reflects the reality that the province is not limited to the US.

To be clear, that does NOT mean The Episcopal Church pretends to impose its doctrine on any other province. Any other interpretation is misapprehension that members of ACNA and others seek to foment.

Gregory Orloff

Yikes! Out of Christian consideration and love for one’s neighbor, I think I’d ask him about his health first, before church politics, not last.

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