By J. K. Schmid, Special to the AFRO
The presiding bishop and primate of the Episcopal Church will lead a silent vigil and procession on the White House Thursday.
Bishop Michael Curry, the first Black leader of a church as old as the Union itself, responsible for approximately 2 million baptized and approximately 3 million self-identified Episcopalians and or Anglicans, will join 10 faith leaders from African-American, Catholic and Protestant churches, a May 10 Episcopal Church press release said.
The Episcopal Church, in the same release, estimates a procession of over one thousand.
The procession syncs up with the ongoing “40 Days of Moral Fusion” direct action in Washington, D.C., an event organized by the Poor People’s Campaign.
Originating with Dr. Martin Luther King in 1968, the Poor People’s Campaign’s initial demands to the U.S. government included $30 billion annually to alleviate poverty, full employment, a guaranteed income and plentiful and affordable housing.
The Episcopal Church release is more vague on the material demands of it participants, but describes a country and its institutions on the brink of calamity.
“The church service, the procession to the White House, and silent candlelight vigil is planned in response to the moral and political crises at the highest levels of political leadership that are putting both the soul of the nation and the integrity of Christian faith at stake,” said the Rev. Jim Wallis, President and Founder, Sojourners, in the release. “The elders call upon all Christians to remember that our identity in Jesus precedes every other identity.”
Bishop Curry who last made headlines as a guest speaker at the May 19 Royal Wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, delivered a fiery speech to those gathered at St. George’s Chapel and viewers around the world. He opened with a quote from Dr. King.
“We must discover the power of love, the power, the redemptive power of love. And when we do that, we will make of this whole world a new world. But love, love is the only way.” Bishop Curry quoted the civil rights leader, adding: “There is power in love. Don’t underestimate it. Don’t even over sentimentalize it. There is power, power in love.”
Bishop Curry later sermonized on what the power of love can achieve.
“When love is the way — unselfish, sacrificial, redemptive,” the bishop said. “When love is the way, then no child would go to bed hungry in this world ever again. When love is the way, we will let justice roll down like a mighty stream and righteousness like an ever flowing brook. When love is the way, poverty will become history. When love is the way, the earth will become a sanctuary. When love is the way, we will lay down our swords and shields down by the riverside to study war no more. When love is the way, there’s plenty good room, plenty good room for all of God’s children.”
Bishop Curry’s delivery during the event evinced his family’s upbringing in the Baptist faith and tradition, emulating the Baptist Dr. King in word and deed.
And now, he too marches on Washington.
Thursday’s events begin with a church service at National City Christian Church at 7 p.m. The vigil is scheduled to begin at 8:30 p.m.