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Rock the Vote

NAAAS & Affiliates 27th Joint National Conference

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Curry, Michael Bruce (1953- )

Michael Bruce Curry is the 27th Presiding Bishop and Primate of The Episcopal Church. Curry was born in Chicago, Illinois on March 13, 1953 to the Rev. Kenneth S. L. Curry, a pastor and social activist, and Dorothy Strayhorn Curry. At age three, he moved with his family to Buffalo, New York, where his father served as the rector of St. Philip’s Episcopal Church, a predominantly African congregation. Tragedy struck the family when Curry’s mother died when he was a teenager. His grandmother Nellie Strayhorn, a devout Baptist, helped to raise him and became an inspirational force in his life.  After graduating high school, Curry enrolled at Hobart College in Geneva, New York with aspirations of becoming a lawyer and politician.  Graduating with honors in 1975, he decided to accept his calling to the priesthood.  Three years later, in 1978, he obtained a master’s degree from Yale Divinity School.

Curry was ordained as a deacon at Buffalo’s St. Paul Cathedral and later as a priest at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.  While there, he served as rector from 1978 to 1982 and then as rector at St. Simon of Cyrene Episcopal Church in Lincoln Heights, Ohio from 1982 to 1988 and at St. James’ Episcopal Church in Baltimore, Maryland, from 1988 until February 11, 2000.  In June of 2000, Curry was elected Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of North Carolina and consecrated in a ceremony on the campus of Duke University.  In this clerical position, he exerted greater impact in social justice, child and family welfare, gay rights and marriage equality, overseas outreach involving religious education and healthcare, revitalization of urban communities of color, and facilitating effective ministries.

After fifteen years as a diocesan bishop, Curry’s ministry elevated to a higher position. On June 27, 2015, at the convening of the church’s 78th General Convention in Salt Lake City, Utah, the House of Bishops elected Curry to be Presiding Bishop and Primate of the Episcopal Church. As the newly elected leader of the Episcopal Church, he immediately addressed unprofessional actions of church staff by firing high ranking officials, including a bishop. At the 2016 meeting of the Anglican Communion at Canterbury Cathedral in London, he endured a sting of criticisms and sanctions from affiliated primates abroad due to his church’s ratification of same-sex marriage rites in 2015.

As the first African American to lead the church’s 1.9 million baptized followers, Curry also serves as Chief Pastor, President, and CEO of the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society and chairs the Executive Council of the Episcopal Church. In an effort to attract new converts, he has emphasized evangelism and revivals. He has published a number of books including Songs My Grandma Sang (2015), Crazy Christians: A Call to Follow Jesus (2013), Following the Way of Jesus: Volume 6 (2017), and A Journey Through Acts: The 50 Day Bible Challenge (2018).  He also wrote articles in the Huffington Post, the Baltimore Sun, and in official church publications.

Curry and his wife, Sharon Clement Curry, have two grown daughters and reside in North Carolina.

Michael B. Curry, Crazy Christians: A Call to Follow Jesus (Atlanta: Morehouse Publishing, 2013); “Episcopal Church installs its first African-American leader: Chicago-born Bishop Michael Curry,” The Chicago Tribune, Oct. 31, 2015; “The Most Rev. Michael B. Curry” at


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