Episcopal Church leader to support new African American museum with special service

The leader of the Episcopal Church will come to the Charleston area for a special service in support of the International African American Museum.

The Most Rev. Michael Curry, presiding bishop and primate of The Episcopal Church, will lead a worship service titled “The Journey: A Call to Action for Historical, Spiritual and Social Justice.”

The service is set for 6 p.m. Nov. 16 at Mount Moriah Missionary Baptist Church, 7396 Rivers Ave., North Charleston.

The service, which is open to the public, will be preceded by an invitation-only blessing ceremony at the museum, which is located on historic Gadsden’s Wharf, the North American entry point for tens of thousands of enslaved Africans during the early 1800s.

Register to attend the special service at Mount Moriah at http://iaamuseum.org/iaam-bishop-curry.

Curry was installed as the 27th presiding bishop on Nov. 1, 2015. He is serving in that capacity for nine years. The Episcopal Church’s first African American leader, Curry has emphasized spiritual and racial conciliation, arguing that Episcopalians should “break free of the church’s identification with domination systems, empire, establishment, privilege, and social and cultural traditions that have held us captive — and get back in touch with the risk-taking, liberating ways of Jesus.”

Curry first visited Charleston in April 2016, when he participated in a conference on evangelism and racial reconciliation. He returned in June this year to join the church’s inaugural, live-streamed National Bible Study, hosted by Emanuel AME Church. That event marked the seventh anniversary of the mass shooting at Emanuel, which left nine parishioners dead.

He came to Charleston in the fall of 2021 to consecrate Bishop Ruth Woodliff-Stanley bishop of the Diocese of South Carolina.

Curry came to Charleston again in June 2022 for a commemorative event on the seventh anniversary of the shooting.

The Rev. DeMett Jenkins, the museum’s director of education and engagement for faith-based communities, said Curry’s insistence on placing love at the center of our spiritual and political lives makes him an ideal special guest.

“If you’re going to love people, you’ve got to love people in all ways,” she said.

He was invited in 2021 to join the celebration of the museum’s opening to the public, but when the date of the opening slipped from November 2022 to January 2023, IAAM staffers decided to organize this private blessing and public service, Jenkins said.

“He speaks of justice and fairness,” she said. “Who better for out pre-opening worship service to speak to our trauma and joy?”

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