Biship Curry's Christmas Message - 2022
Presiding Bishop Michael Curry’s Christmas message 2022: ‘Love always’
December 19, 2022
Office of Public Affairs
The following is a transcript of Presiding Bishop Michael Curry’s recorded Christmas message for 2022.
Hello. I’m inside St. James Church by-the-Sea, La Jolla, California. We thank the rector, the clergy, the staff, and the good people of this church for allowing us to bring this Christmas message to The Episcopal Church from this wonderful and beautiful congregation.
There is a Christmas carol not that well known here in the States, maybe better known in Great Britain, that says quite simply, “Love came down at Christmas. Love all lovely. Love divine. Love was born at Christmas. Star and angel gave the sign. Love came down at Christmas.”
The older I get, the more I am convinced that God came into this world in the person of Jesus for one reason, and one reason alone: to show us the way to be reconciled and in right relationship with the God who is the creator of us all, and with each other as children of that one God who is the creator of us all, and of all things.
Jesus came to show us how to live, reconciled with God, and with each other, and He taught us that the way to do it is God’s way of love. For God’s way of love is God’s way of life. It’s our hope for our families, our communities, our societies. Indeed, it is our hope for the whole world. For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, and love came down at Christmas.
Now, look, I’m 69 years old. I’ve been around the block a little bit. I know that sounds nice, sounds like the kind of thing we say in church. It sounds nice, but naive, idealistic but unrealistic, and yet, consider the alternative. Need I just simply say the names? Uvalde, Vestavia Hills, Tree of Life Synagogue, Club Q in Colorado Springs, Ukraine.
Now, God’s way of love is not naive, it is not unrealistic, it’s the way. It’s the way to life for us all. Dr. King once said, “Darkness cannot cast out darkness; only light can do that. And hatred cannot cast out hatred; only love can do that.” Love came down at Christmas. And as some of us are beginning to say in this Episcopal church of ours, “Love always.”
Earlier this year, I went to Mother Emanuel AME in Charleston to be part of the seventh commemoration of the murders of the martyrs of Charleston. You may remember that a number of years ago, while members of that church had gathered for Bible study, a man came in and they welcomed him in, and invited him to join them, and he turned on them, and he killed many.
It was the seventh commemoration to both honor and remember those who had died, to give God thanks for those who helped—first responders, medical persons—but it was also something else. It was a time to commit ourselves, not simply to throw up our hands in despair, but to reach out our hands to each other, to roll up our sleeves, to take God’s hand and take each other’s hand and do the hard and holy work of love, which brings healing, which brings hope, which binds us together, and lifts us up to be all that God dreams and intends for us all to be.
Love came down at Christmas. Love always, because love is the way. It is the way that Jesus taught us based on the ancient teachings of Moses, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength. This is the first and great commandment, and the second is like unto it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” for on these two hang, depend, all the law, all the prophets, everything that God intends because God is love.
Love came down at Christmas and so let this Christmas be a moment of rededication to the work of love in the world. As Howard Thurman wrote long ago, “When the song of the angels is stilled, when the star and the sky is gone, when the kings and princes are at home, when the shepherds are back with their flocks, then the work of Christmas begins. To find the lost, to heal the broken, to feed the hungry, to release the prisoner, to rebuild the nations, to bring peace among others, to make music in the heart.”
For love came down at Christmas, and our work is to love always. God love you. God bless you, and may God hold us all in those almighty hands of love. Merry Christmas.
The Most Rev. Michael B. Curry
Presiding Bishop and Primate
The Episcopal Church
September 24, 2022
Dear colleagues and friends,
This week, following the Standing Committee’s announcement of the final slate of candidates for Bishop Coadjutor, I wrote to the nominees a note of welcome and of gratitude for their interest and availability to serve in the Diocese of Ohio. The Search Committee has done a wonderful job identifying such qualified priests to stand for election in November.
In my correspondence with them, I wrote of the canonical requirement that, at the electing convention, I will read my written consent to the election, stating therein the duties expected of the Bishop Coadjutor, once she is ordained. As well, I referenced the constitutional requirement that the duration of a coadjutor period must not exceed thirty-six months. I went on to explain my belief that, once the nominees have been selected, both they and the electing delegates ought to know my expectations in both regards, as everyone prepares for the Meet and Greet process.
To that end, I want to share with you what I shared with our nominees regarding those details and my consent to the election when we convene in November at the 206th Diocesan Convention.
Canon III.9(a)(2) of the Constitution and Canons of The Episcopal Church requires that “Before an election of a Bishop Coadjutor, the Bishop Diocesan shall read, or cause to be read, to the Convention the Bishop’s written consent to the election. The consent shall state the duties to be assigned to the Bishop Coadjutor when ordained. The consent shall form part of the proceedings of the Convention. The duties assigned by the Diocesan Bishop to the Bishop Coadjutor may be enlarged by mutual consent.”
The canon addresses duties assigned to the Bishop Coadjutor once she is ordained at the end of April. It is my expectation, however, that when she joins the Diocesan Staff as our Bishop Coadjutor-elect sometime before then, she will begin to work with staff colleagues and elected and appointed diocesan leaders in all areas of diocesan ministry. This will include Committees, Commissions, and Trustees of the Diocese, Deans of Mission Areas, and parochial clergy and lay leaders. The Bishop Coadjutor-elect will begin to visit parishes to celebrate, preach, and build relationships with communicants and clergy. After ordination to the episcopate, the Bishop Coadjutor will add episcopal functions to visitations (Confirmation, Reception, Reaffirmation, etc.) and share in all episcopal responsibilities, save those canonically required of bishops with jurisdiction. The Bishop Coadjutor will take either shared or full responsibility for liturgical and remarriage permissions, licensing of lay ministries, parish searches, financial and personnel matters, pastoral care of clergy and their families, and all episcopal duties allowed a Bishop Coadjutor by canon. Per Canon III.9(a)(2), these duties “may be enlarged by mutual consent.”
The duration of the period a Bishop Coadjutor serves before becoming the Bishop Diocesan is, as mentioned above, not required to be determined in advance either of election or consecration. Article II.1 of the Constitution of The Episcopal Church dictates only that “the retirement date of the Bishop Diocesan shall not be more than thirty-six months after the consecration of the Bishop Coadjutor.” It is my intention that the date of my resignation as Bishop of Ohio will be determined by the needs and desires of the Bishop Coadjutor. I expect, therefore, that the duration of the coadjutor period will be modest in length, likely a few months at most, and conclude well in advance of the 207th Diocesan Convention.
I know that you join me in holding our three nominees in our prayers as we move toward their time with us next month and our electing convention in November.
The Rt. Rev. Mark Hollingsworth, Jr.
Bishop of Ohio
bISHOPs & fATHER MIKE