The bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of North Carolina has been named one of four finalists to lead the Episcopal Church.
The Rt. Rev. Michael B. Curry of Raleigh has been the Episcopal bishop of the North Carolina diocese since 2000. If chosen presiding bishop at the Episcopal Church’s general convention in June, Curry would become chief pastor to the church’s 2.1 million members in 17 countries and 109 dioceses.
Curry and the three other bishops – the Rt. Rev. Thomas Breidenthal of Southern Ohio, the Rt. Rev. Ian Douglas of Connecticut and the Rt. Rev. Dabney Smith of Southwest Florida – were chosen by a nominating committee. Other candidates may be nominated from the floor of the church’s convention in Salt Lake City.
Curry, 62, was the rector of a church in inner-city Baltimore when he became the first African-American to lead the Episcopal Church in North Carolina. As rector of St. James Episcopal Church, Curry rebuilt the sanctuary after lightning destroyed it and added a parish center across the street. In response to an epidemic of drugs and urban violence, the church began a series of revivals and created a development corporation to buy and revitalize neighborhood buildings.
He had previously been a rector at a church outside Cincinnati and began his career as rector at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church in Winston-Salem.
Curry was born in Chicago and grew up in Buffalo. He graduated from Yale University’s divinity school.
In a statement, Curry said he will “joyfully serve wherever God wants me to be.”
“The nominating committee has identified four bishops, all of whom are my brothers in Christ, and any one of whom could provide faithful and capable leadership for the Church in this mission moment,” he said. “The Church must enter into a time of deep prayer and spiritual discernment to guide and govern our democratic process of decision making.”
The new presiding bishop will serve a nine-year term beginning Nov. 1.