The election of Michael Curry as Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church of the USA is an “extraordinary opportunity” for reconciliation and renewed witness for the worldwide Anglican Communion, predicts the Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church.
On 28 June 2015 the Most Rev. David Chillingsworth, Primus of the SEC and Bishop of St. Andrews, Dunkeld and Dunblane told Anglican Ink: “You can’t put a label on him”, when describing Bishop Curry.
Bishop Chillingsworth said he was attending the 78th General Convention of the Episcopal Church on provincial and personal grounds. The Scottish and American Episcopal Church had close links going back to the consecration of the first American bishop, Samuel Seabury, he said, adding that when he took office as bishop he attended the training school of the US House of bishops and has “personal ties” to his classmates.
The Scottish church leader said he has known Bishop Curry for five years. Writing on his blog after the vote, he observed: “This is one of those moments when a remarkable person with distinctive gifts steps onto the stage. Such moments are potentially transformative.”
Bishop Curry “speaks passionately – and often quietly – about God and grace. He has personal charisma and charm in abundance. His sharp intelligence enables him to express our faith tradition and the story in ways that are fresh – often very funny – and which speak to the heart.”
He believed Bishop Curry would be welcomed warmly by the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby. “Michael Curry and Justin Welby share the same ideals, the same passions. They both love Jesus,” he said.
The appointment of Bishop Josiah Idowu-Fearon to become the general secretary of the Anglican Consultative Council was a further factor to consider in the calculus of international Anglican affairs. Closer relations between the Episcopal Church and the Church of England coupled with a hand stretched out to the global south in reconciliation, hopefully facilitated by the new ACC secretary general, left him sanguine about the future of the church.
The new presiding bishop is an “African-American who carries the story of racial prejudice in America – and the story of slavery – and the history of colonialism in his very being will change all the relational dynamics,” he wrote in his blog.
“And that’s because many of the most difficult issues of the Communion are rooted in the enduring impact of colonialism, Bishop Chillingsworth said. “This is a good day for the Episcopal Church, for the world church and for the Anglican Communion.”