SALT LAKE CITY — Anglophiles take note: There’s a Utah connection to Saturday’s royal wedding.
Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church Michael Curry, whose stirring address has become one of the most talked about aspects of the wedding ceremony of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, became leader of international church in Salt Lake City during its 78th General Convention on June 27, 2015.
Curry, then-bishop of the Diocese of North Carolina, is the Episcopal Church’s first black presiding bishop and primate. The House of Bishops conducted its vote at St. Mark’s Cathedral in Salt Lake City, electing Bishop Curry on the first ballot, also a first for the church. Later in the day, the election was ratified by laity and clergy in the House of Deputies.
Kensington Palace announced May 12 that the couple invited Curry to preach at the service — "a departure from tradition for British royal weddings where sermons are usually given by senior Church of England clergy," according to the Episcopal News Service.
Media reports worldwide described Bishop Curry’s 12-minute plus address as "rousing," "emotional," "stirring" and "powerful."
Much was made of the reaction of royals attending the wedding in St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle, which ranged from smiling and nodding, no reaction and even listening with mouths agape.
Bishop Curry compared love to fire and drew on American history, quoting Martin Luther King Jr. and speaking about slavery.
"The late Dr. Martin Luther King once said, and I quote: ‘We must discover the power of love, the redemptive power of love, and when we do that we will make of this old world a new world. For love is the only way.
“There’s power in love. Do not underestimate it,” the presiding bishop said.
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“Anyone who has ever fallen in love knows what I mean. But think about love in any form or experience of it. It actually feels good to be loved, and to express love. There is something right about it. And there’s a reason.
“Love, love is the only way. There’s power in love. Don’t underestimate. Don’t even oversentimentalize it. There’s power in love. If you don’t believe me, think about a time when you first fell in love, the whole world seemed to center around you and your beloved."
The Episcopal Church’s website has full video and text of Bishop Curry’s address.
Following his election as presiding bishop in Salt Lake City, Bishop Curry described himself as "a follower of Jesus. I’m not a perfect one, but I want to be one of his disciples," he said.
"I just look forward to serving and working for the cause of the Jesus movement in the world, to help this become a transformed world that I like to say looks more like God’s dream and less like our nightmare."
Bishop Curry was ordained into the priesthood in 1976. He was elected the 11th bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of North Carolina on Feb. 11, 2000, and consecrated on June 17, 2000, in Duke Chapel on the campus of Duke University.
Throughout his ministry, Bishop Curry has also been active in social justice issues, speaking out on immigration policy and marriage equality.
He and his wife, Sharon, have two adult daughters, Rachel and Elizabeth.
Bishop Curry of Chicago earned an undergraduate degree from Hobart College in Geneva, New York, in 1975, and a Master of Divinity degree in 1978 from Yale University Divinity School. He also studied at the College of Preachers, Princeton Theological Seminary, Wake Forest University, the Ecumenical Institute at St. Mary’s Seminary, and the Institute of Christian Jewish Studies.