First black leader of US Episcopal Church urges Christians to bridge racial gaps

Bishop Michael Curry (center) says, 'God has not given up on the world and God is not finished with the Episcopal Church yet.'Reuters

Presiding Bishop Michael Curry was installed on Sunday as the first black leader of the US Episcopal Church in a ceremony held at the Washington National Cathedral in Washington D.C.

Addressing the congregation, Curry encouraged Episcopalians to bridge the gaps among various races, between the educated and uneducated, as well as among the rich and poor, NBC News reported.

"Evangelism is sharing the faith that's in you, and listening and learning from the faith that's in someone else," he said. "It's about listening and sharing, it's a relationship where God can get in the mix."

Curry used his own childhood story as an example to stress the importance of unity. He shared that his own mother was allowed to get Communion at a white Episcopal parish before desegregation. This act encouraged his father so much so that he joined the denomination and later became a priest.

"God has not given up on the world and God is not finished with the Episcopal Church yet," Curry said.

Curry, 62, took over the helm from Katharine Jefferts Schori, who became the first woman leader of the US Episcopal Church. She was in the position for nine years.

As for Curry, he served 15 years as the leader of the Diocese of North Carolina before he was unanimously elected last summer to lead the church, which now boasts of 1.9 million members. He grew up in Buffalo, New York, and has degrees from Hobart College in Geneva, New York, and Yale Divinity School.

Curry also said it is very important for Episcopalians to be more sincere and dedicated about their faith, especially since there are many difficulties that lie ahead for the faith community.

"It is an understatement to say we live in a deeply complex and difficult time in the life of the world," Curry said. "This is a time when again it is an understatement to say there are challenges before the church and communities of faith. This is a time of difficulty and hardship for many. A time of goodness and joy for others. And a time when we must even find ways to save the mother earth, who is the mother of us all."