Saturday, June 27, 2015

A Monumental Election

The big news today at General Convention, of course, was the resounding election of the Right Reverend Michael B. Curry of North Carolina as the 27th Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church.

Bishop Curry’s election was stunning in its quickness.  He was elected on the first ballot from among four very gifted and capable nominees.  He received 70 percent of the votes, with the totals being 121 for him; 21 votes for Bishop Dabney Smith of Southwest Florida; 19 votes for Bishop Tom Breidenthal of Southern Ohio; and 13 votes for Bishop Ian Douglas of Connecticut.

 The results were relayed to the House of Deputies – though not disclosed – and were immediately referred to the Committee on the Confirmation of the Presiding Bishop.  The committee met with representatives of the House of Bishops who disclosed the results and responded to procedural questions.  The committee came to the full House of Deputies and made a motion that Bishop Curry be confirmed as the duly-elected 27th Presiding Bishop.  The House of Deputies confirmed the election by a vote of 800 to 12, an affirmative vote more than of 98 percent.

Shortly thereafter, the newly-elected Primate was escorted to the well of the House of Deputies by incumbent Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, his family, and the deputation from North Carolina.  There he received a thunderous ovation and shared his enthusiasm for the church’s embrace of proclaiming the gospel in a changing society.  Bishop Curry has repeatedly described the work and institution of the church as being essentially part of “the Jesus movement.”  Bishop Curry is a well-known preacher and evangelist.

Bishop Curry was the speaker at Mississippi’s annual clergy conference a few years ago, and was supported in that conference by the late Horace Boyer, the moving force behind the hymnal supplement, Lift Every Voice and Sing II.  He is the first Bishop from Province IV (the southeastern-most 20 dioceses) elected since John Maury Allin, Bishop of Mississippi, in 1973.  It should be noted that the top two vote-getters in the election this year were from Province IV.

I have been taking today off from the floor of General Convention, though I attended my legislative committee meeting early this morning.  I have been awaiting my wife, Nora, and her arrival from Jackson.  She flies into Salt Lake City tonight.  The Reverend David Knight, an alternate deputy from Mississippi, has been graciously sitting on the floor for me today.  He also got to participate in the momentous celebration of the election of the new Presiding Bishop today.

As mentioned in yesterday’s blog posting, General Convention will begin picking up steam on Monday, after we celebrate the Lord’s Day with the ECW’s UTO Ingathering Eucharist tomorrow.

Please keep the General Convention and the Mississippi Deputation in your prayers.

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