North Dakota diocese to welcome pilgrimages at Standing Rock interpretive center and lodge

Youth camp participants pose for a group photo in July in front of the new Star Lodge at St. Gabriel’s Camp in Solen, North Dakota. Photo: John Floberg

[Episcopal News Service] A new lodge at an Episcopal youth camp on the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation will double as a Native American interpretive center, highlighting local history and culture for visitors drawn to the region by an interest in the indigenous rights advocacy there.

The Episcopal Church was a prominent supporter of tribal demonstrators who in 2016 tried to block construction of part of an oil pipeline that they feared could threaten Standing Rock’s drinking water. Despite their objections, the Dakota Access Pipeline was allowed to cross the Missouri River just north of the reservation, and oil began pumping in June 2017.

Since then, the Diocese of North Dakota has welcomed various outside groups, interested in learning about the fight for indigenous and ecological justice, at its St. Gabriel’s Camp in Solen, North Dakota, a few miles west of the Missouri River on the northern edge of the reservation. Disciples of Christ youth groups have visited in each of the past two years. A group from Dayton University in Ohio visited in May, and another is coming in November from Concordia College in Moorhead, Minnesota.

The Rev. John Floberg, rector at the diocese’s three congregations serving Standing Rock, has worked with other church leaders to accommodate such pilgrimages as best they can, including by setting up visits with tribal officials and residents. That spirit of welcome is about to swell with the development of the 2,700-square-foot Star Lodge at the camp to serve as an interpretive center.

“We’re looking at trying to help people translate what is here to their own communities,” Floberg told Episcopal News Service.

The lodge at St. Gabriel’s Camp is named after the Rev. Terry Star, a 40-year-old deacon and member of Executive Council who died suddenly in 2014 while studying to become a priest. The Rev. Angela Goodhouse-Mauai, who was ordained as a deacon with Star in 2007, said in an interview with ENS that she thought of him as a brother.

“That was a big loss for us,” Goodhouse-Mauai said.

Star’s great-grandfather was Chief Red Hail, whose name had graced the camp’s previous lodge, until it was struck by lightning and burned down in August 2018. Now, with the help of a United Thank Offering grant and additional funds scheduled to be approved this week by Executive Council, the new Star Lodge will not only restore what was lost in last year’s fire. It also will incorporate geothermal heating and solar power, while expanding the diocese’s capacity to host youth groups in the summer and other church groups year-round.

The overall project costs about $280,000, Floberg said, and the structural shell of the new lodge already has been built with money received through the diocese’s insurance after last year’s fire. The $58,000 grant from United Thank Offering, or UTO, and about $20,000 from Executive Council will be used to complete the inside of the lodge and install the renewable energy sources.

Without the sustainable energy upgrade, the diocese wouldn’t be able to afford to keep the lodge open in the cold winter months, said Floberg, who also serves as president of the Diocese of North Dakota Standing Committee. The diocese already upgraded one of its Standing Rock churches, St. James’ Episcopal Church in Cannon Ball, to geothermal and was able to reduce its winter heating bills to about $130 a month, a small fraction of what propane heat had cost.

The size of Star Lodge is another big upgrade. Its meeting hall alone will be as large as the former lodge, and the diocese is in the process of converting the building’s additional space into a self-contained apartment with three bedrooms, bathrooms and a kitchen. The bedrooms will be able to house up to 16 guests, and the meeting hall can be converted to sleeping quarters to accommodate larger groups.

In addition to its primary use hosting youth groups, the former Red Hail Lodge was the site of trainings for local residents interested in becoming deacons and priests. Developing Native American leaders for service in the church will continue to be part of the mission at Star Lodge, Floberg said.

Star Lodge’s mission mirrors the dedication that its namesake deacon showed to the work of guiding young people in their spiritual development to become church leaders, Goodhouse-Mauai said. At the same time, she is heartened to have the expanded lodge as a resource for visitors “to learn the history of Standing Rock and learn from the people of Standing Rock.”

To that end, the diocese aims to develop racial reconciliation pilgrimages, with programs for 10 to 30 people at a time, through Star Lodge’s interpretive center. One of its core themes, according to the UTO grant application, will be the treaties signed more than a century ago between American Indian tribes and the U.S. government, emphasizing the promises made to the country’s native peoples.

The broader movement to draw attention to those promises gained steam on Oct. 14 as the federal holiday known as Columbus Day was celebrated by a growing number of Americans as Indigenous Peoples Day.

Floberg, speaking to ENS last week, sought to put Christopher Columbus’ 1492 landing in perspective.

“Every acre of this land on this continent was already spoken for,” Floberg said. “There was no vast wilderness where there weren’t people already inhabiting territory. … We’re all on Indian land.” That makes it all the more important, he added, for the church to take the lead in learning about and listening to America’s indigenous residents.

– David Paulsen is an editor and reporter for Episcopal News Service. He can be reached at

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A statement from the Episcopal churches in Germany on the Yom Kippur attack in Halle

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RIP: Robert Estill, ninth bishop of North Carolina, dies at 92

The Rt. Rev. Robert Estill at the Diocese of North Carolina’s 201st Annual Convention. Photo: Diocese of North Carolina

[Diocese of North Carolina] The Rt. Rev. Robert Whitridge Estill, the ninth bishop of North Carolina, died on Oct. 9 in Raleigh, North Carolina, surrounded by his family.

Born Sept. 7, 1927, in Lexington, Kentucky, to parents Robert and Elizabeth, Estill witnessed nine decades of history. He put his time to excellent use and was a talented raconteur, always ready with a story about one of his adventures to regale friends and strangers alike. An advocate for those marginalized by the church, Estill served his beloved Episcopal Church with vision and warmth.

“Bishop Estill was an exemplary leader who always lived fully and faithfully into his vocation as a servant of God and of God’s people,” the Rt. Rev. Sam Rodman, bishop of the Diocese of North Carolina, said. “He was a man of character who also had a gift for caricature. His cartoons captured the human foibles we all share, as well as a delight in the ways we live and love imperfectly, as agents of God’s grace. Bishop Estill’s humor was never more disarming than when he turned it on himself, which he often did.”

“Bob Estill had the strength of prophetic leadership wrapped in the old-fashioned charms of a Southern gentleman,” the Rt. Rev. Anne Hodges-Copple, bishop suffragan of the Diocese of North Carolina, said. “He took his role as defender of the faith seriously while also taking himself and the politics of the church lightly. He had a wicked sense of humor that could zing as well as disarm. Best of all was that he could laugh at himself while remaining steadfast in serving God and the church.”

After receiving his Bachelor of Arts at the University of Kentucky in 1949, Estill went on to earn his Bachelor of Divinity at Episcopal Divinity School in 1952 and later in life his Master of Sacred Theology (1960), Doctor of Ministry (1979) and Doctor of Divinity (1984) from Sewanee, the University of the South. He was ordained to the diaconate and the priesthood in 1952 by the Rt. Rev. William R. Moody, bishop of Lexington. On June 17, 1950, Estill wed Joyce Haynes, with whom he would share a 69-year marriage.

Estill’s service to the church began in his native Kentucky, where he served as the rector of St. Mary’s Episcopal Church in Middlesboro (1952-1955) and Christ Church Cathedral in Lexington (1955-1963). He then served in the D.C. area for several years as the rector of St. Alban’s Parish (1969-1973) and a faculty member at Virginia Theological Seminary (1971-1976) before moving to Dallas, Texas, to serve as the rector of St. Michael’s and All Angels (1976-1980). From there he was elected bishop coadjutor of the Diocese of North Carolina in 1980. He succeeded the Rt. Rev. Thomas Fraser as the ninth bishop of North Carolina on Jan. 27, 1983, when he was consecrated by the Most Rev. John M. Allen. He served as bishop until his retirement in 1994.

As bishop, Estill sought to deepen and extend the ordained ministry of the church through a commitment to clergy continuing education, active encouragement of aspirants for Holy Orders, support for the ordination of women and the revival of the diaconate in this diocese. At the time of his retirement in 1994, he could look with justifiable satisfaction at the growth during his episcopate in the number of clergy resident in the diocese, including an additional 50 female clergy and 22 deacons.

“When Estill was still a priest in the Diocese of Dallas, he was an early and often lonely voice in support of women in lay and ordained ministry,” Hodges-Copple said. “He licensed my mother to be a lay chalice bearer at the Episcopal School of Dallas, a bold move in the early eighties that caused some to resign from the board of trustees. I chose to do my discernment process in the Diocese of North Carolina because I knew under Bishop Estill’s leadership I could just be my full and honest self without needing to defend women’s equality in general.”

Estill also sought to strengthen diocesan institutions and to honor long-standing mission commitments. He was a strong proponent of youth, campus and social ministries. A capital campaign conducted in the 1980s enabled the diocese to expand the facilities of the Camp & Conference Center.

In addition to his service to The Episcopal Church as priest and bishop, Estill also served as the chair of the Kentucky Human Rights Commission for 31 years and on the board of trustees of General Theological Seminary. He taught at Duke Divinity School, presided over the North Carolina Council of Churches, and chaired the Episcopal Church Board of Theological Education and the board of Kanuga Camp and Conference Center. He was also the author of “The Sun Shines Bright,” a memoir published in 2017.

“There was a graciousness to him that made one feel as though there was room to be yourself in his presence, a generous spirit that always left me feeling more sure of God’s love,” Rodman said. “In addition to our occasional visits, it was a great gift, recently, to be invited to celebrate with him a Sunday service that he offered faithfully once a month to the residents of Cypress Residential Community, where he and Joyce made their home. His devotion to God and to God’s people was his constant focus, and in this he embodied what it means to be faithful.”

Estill is survived by his wife, Joyce, their three children, Helen Estill Foote, Robert W. Estill, Jr. and Elizabeth Estill Robertson, six grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.

Funeral services will be held on Saturday, Oct. 19 at 11 a.m. in the sanctuary of Christ Church, 120 E. Edenton St., Raleigh, NC.

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Noticias semanales de Anglican Communion News Service del 14 de octubre de 2019

Noticias semanales de Anglican Communion News Service del 14 de octubre de 2019

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Notícias da Semana do Anglican Communion News Service – 14 de outubro de 2019

Notícias da Semana do Anglican Communion News Service – 14 de outubro de 2019

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Infos hebdomadaire de l’Anglican Communion News Service – 14 octobre 2019

Infos hebdomadaire de l’Anglican Communion News Service – 14 octobre 2019

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New York’s St. John the Divine makes progress on cathedral restoration six months after fire

Bishop Clifton Daniel, dean of the Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine in New York, speaks Oct. 10 at the New York City Fire Department’s annual memorial service, held at the cathedral. Photo: Cathedral of St. John the Divine, via Facebook

[Episcopal News Service] The Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine hosted the New York City Fire Department’s annual memorial service on Oct. 10, and with a fire cleanup crew’s scaffolding serving as part of the backdrop for the ceremony, Bishop Clifton Daniel, the cathedral’s dean, stood to offer a brief welcome.

Daniel noted that city firefighters had responded to significant fires at the cathedral twice in the past two decades, most recently in April on Palm Sunday. “On behalf of a grateful cathedral and a grateful city, thank you,” he said.

The fire on April 14 prompted a sudden evacuation of the cathedral, where the 9 a.m. Palm Sunday service had just ended. The 11 a.m. service was moved outside as smoke billowed from the building. Church leaders initially expressed relief that no one was hurt and that most of the damage from the fire was confined to an art storage room in the cathedral’s basement crypt.

The fire’s severity paled in comparison to the damage sustained in a terrifying blaze the following day at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, but as with Notre Dame, recovery at St. John the Divine has been a slow, gradual process that still is disrupting some cathedral operations six months later.

St. John the Divine canceled its popular St. Francis Day Festal Eucharist, which typically draws more than 2,000 pets and their owners to celebrate the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi. Even so, the cathedral was able to hold a St. Francis Day Fair on Oct. 6 outside, with pet blessings, a costume parade and children’s activities.

Hosting the Oct. 10 memorial service for firefighters “took on a special meaning,” the cathedral said in a Facebook post. “We saw firsthand their commitment, professionalism and respect.”

Some artworks were damaged by the fire, but the continued disruptions primarily are due to the smoke. Right after the fire, crews cleaned everything below 10 feet to allow the cathedral to reopen quickly, but the greater challenge has been cleaning the walls, windows and ceilings above 10 feet.

“This work has required a great deal of flexibility, cooperation and patience on the part of staff, visitors, worshipers and the cleaning crews, as we moved services and adjusted public events to accommodate the needs of such an undertaking,” the cathedral said in an update for its fall 2019 newsletter.

A Sept. 6 photo shared on St. John the Divine’s Facebook page shows crews cleaning the cathedral’s stonework after it was damaged by smoke from a fire in April.

Access to parts of the cathedral has been limited as workers from Maxons Restorations raise their lifts high to clean the facility’s lofty heights. The scaffolding was brought in for the more complicated task of cleaning above the high altar.

The cleanup also has prompted some early closings and canceled services and disrupted the plans of the many sightseers who visit St. John the Divine to view its grand architecture. The cathedral, one of the world’s largest churches, began charging tourists $10 admission about two years ago, but it reportedly has reduced the price while renovations are underway.

The cathedral, which also serves as seat of the Diocese of New York, posts schedule updates on its website.

With several prominent areas of the cathedral’s worship space closed, including the high altar, great choir and crossing, Sunday services have been confined to the nave. Daily services are held in a smaller area known as the medical bay. The cathedral’s “Treasures of the Crypt” exhibition is also closed.

Its six pipe organs have been affected by the smoke as well. They must be taken apart and cleaned before they can be returned to use. Until then, a rented substitute will have to do. “We are blessed to have use of the finest electronic organ available,” the cathedral notes.

The cathedral is expected to be fully restored by next year. Daniel told The New York Times last month that he hoped to have the stonework cleaned in time for Christmas 2019, and attention will then shift to the pipe organs. The congregation anticipates being able to resume its full St. Francis Day celebrations in October 2020.

That is a relatively short timeline compared to what the congregation endured after a fire in 2001. The six-alarm blaze a week before Christmas Eve burned through the timbered roof trusses, destroying the north transept and severely damaging the Great Organ.

The damage required extensive restoration work, and the cathedral wasn’t fully restored until 2008.

– David Paulsen is an editor and reporter for Episcopal News Service. He can be reached at

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Closer to Jesus of Nazareth: Q&A with Presiding Bishop Michael Curry

Curry's Easter message

Presiding Bishop Michael Curry delivers his Easter message for 2019. Photo: The Episcopal Church

[Anglican Journal] The Most Rev. Michael Curry is the 27th and current presiding bishop of The Episcopal Church. Curry garnered international attention in 2018, when he preached at the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. His animated sermon even inspired an homage by Kenan Thompson on “Saturday Night Live’s” “Weekend Update.”

The bishop sat down for an interview with the Anglican Journal during the meeting of Anglican Church of Canada’s General Synod in Vancouver to speak about the health of the church, cross-border church relationships and his post-royal wedding fame. The interview has been edited for length.

Read the full article here.

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Connecticut diocese engages parishes in collaboration by replacing deaneries with region missionaries

The Rev. Erin Flinn (left), North Central Region missionary for The Episcopal Church in Connecticut, talks to participants during a “Wild Worship” outdoor Eucharist service on Aug. 21, 2019. Photo: The Episcopal Church in Connecticut

[Episcopal News Service] For many years, reorganizing church structure and governance to be more efficient and effective has been suggested as a way to adapt to the societal changes The Episcopal Church is contending with. But the record of progress toward that goal has been mixed, at least on a church-wide level.

The Episcopal Church in Connecticut has taken its own action on structural reform by replacing its 14 outdated deaneries – which were seen as outdated – with six regions, each served by a “region missionary” who fosters collaboration and engagement in the parishes of that region.

Two years after the first missionaries were hired, their positions have gone from part-time to full-time and the program has been hailed as a success.

“The people and the parishes have faithfully chosen to realize the truth that the church and the world is changing … and there’s only going to be more change afoot,” the Rt. Rev. Ian Douglas, bishop of Connecticut, told the Episcopal News Service. “And instead of licking our wounds or wallowing in loss and decline, the people of The Episcopal Church in Connecticut have said, ‘Let’s look forward in faith and try on new ways of being the body of Christ.’”

The traditional deanery model – which hadn’t been adjusted since 1984 – had become dysfunctional, diocesan leaders said. When asked what wasn’t working about the deanery model, the Rev. Timothy Hodapp, canon for mission collaboration, couldn’t help but laugh.

“We had 28 participating members in what was then called the diocesan Executive Council, so that was two representatives from each of the 14 deaneries,” Hodapp said. “And of those 14, three were actually on the ground, active, doing a lot of really great work. The others – it would go from doing great work on one end to not participating at all on the other, and then kind of middling in between those two extremes. And so you might have your council come together and barely get a quorum, and the work of the council was oftentimes rubber-stamping what bishops and canons had already done.”

Even though it was apparent to some in the diocese that the deaneries overall were not adding to the life of the church or the communities they served, it took a fresh set of eyes to make substantive changes in the oldest organized diocese in the United States. Douglas, who became diocesan bishop in 2010, was the first to be elected from outside the state since the diocese was created in 1784.

“So the Holy Spirit was up to something here in Connecticut as far as wanting change,” Douglas said.

“There’s been a tradition, particularly in Connecticut, that the diocese is embodied in the bishop and staff and diocesan structures,” he added. “What I’ve underscored in everything that we do is the diocese is not the bishop and staff and council and standing committee, etc. The diocese is the united witness of the 160 parishes in Connecticut.”

The need for a change started to become clear during the work of the Task Force for Reimagining The Episcopal Church in 2013 and 2014. The task force, also known as TREC, eventually issued a report that recommended consolidating church governance structures. Some the most significant recommendations, such as a unicameral General Convention, still have not been adopted, but the task force’s work inspired the diocese to start its own task force in 2014.

“The good work that was begun by the general TREC initiative I think was too bold and too far-reaching for the whole church, which is why it really wasn’t picked up at General Convention,” Douglas said, “whereas we in Connecticut said, ‘Boy, sure makes sense to us. Why don’t we do it?’”

The TREC report inspired the “four C’s” that would eventually become the job description of the region missionaries: catalyze, connect, convene and build capability. Redrawing the deaneries into larger regions required the diocese to examine how each unique corner of the state has evolved over time, but it ultimately yielded a surprisingly familiar result.

“As we devised where these lines might be, to siphon off which chunks of villages are going to be in a region, we went back into the archives and we tried several different iterations,” Hodapp explained. “But following the trunk highways and the river valleys, etc., we parsed it, and it almost matched perfectly to 1843 archdeaconries; there were six of them. And here it was. So we returned to our legacy in a real sense.”

Along with consolidating the deaneries into regions and establishing the region missionaries, the diocesan task force also recommended abolishing all committees and commissions that are not canonically required. Those were replaced with “ministry networks,” but it’s not just a change in terminology; in keeping with the spirit of the task force, these new groups are organized from the bottom up, not from the top down. If any group of Episcopalians wants to act together on a particular issue, they can form a ministry network and get support from the diocese.

“There’s no application for recognition, there’s no canonical authorization; just do it,” Douglas said. “And if people say, ‘Well, how do we do the work, say, in prisons? Where’s the diocesan committee on prison ministry?’ We say, ‘go and do it. Organize yourself. You don’t have to wait for us to give you authority. You have the baptismal authority you need.’”

Two teams of about 30 people worked on the topic over the course of two years, Hodapp said, and when they put every committee and commission up on a wall, they realized what had to be done.

“What’s common to all of this?” Hodapp said. “And why do we have it established as a group that needs to be meeting with Robert’s Rules of Order and taking notes when we need to be more flexible, and we need to network differently, and we need to be in a world that has changed completely around us?”

Each region gathers for a convocation at least once a year, during which they select one lay person and one clergy member to serve on the diocesan Mission Council – which replaced the Executive Council – along with a representative from each ministry network.

The task force’s plan was adopted enthusiastically at the 2015 diocesan convention, and the region missionaries were the last piece to be implemented, with the first cohort of three priests and three lay people being hired in 2017. Their task, Douglas said, is not to be a stopgap to help keep struggling churches in business, although they do play an important role in the 67 percent of parishes without full-time clergy. Their task is to rethink how the churches operate in their communities, Hodapp says.

“Who else needs to be at the table? And that doesn’t mean just Episcopalians. But who are our allies within this village or these three villages? How do we really engage the neighborhood in a meaningful way, for what it needs for right now?” Hodapp said.

Maggie Breen, the missionary for the sparsely populated Northeast Region, spends each Sunday at one of the region’s 16 parishes, and every Sunday is different.

“I have been bringing a map of the town” in which each parish is situated, Breen told ENS. “And I’ll indicate where the parish is in the town and I’ll ask people to think about the town and tell me what things have they noticed that break their heart and what things have they noticed that really bring them joy, and we map those out, and then we brainstorm. What could we do about any of those?”

One of Breen’s accomplishments in her region is a lay preaching class, which had previously been done in the Northwest Region. She also organizes a series of “Crafting as a Spiritual Practice” days, in which participants – including members of other churches – connect over their hobbies and their faith.

The North Central Region’s missionary, the Rev. Erin Flinn, has organized a film and conversation series on racial justice and is working to connect wardens from different parishes so they can feel supported and share their experiences. She also is focusing on enabling parishioners to start mission work on their own.

“If you have a call, go do something,” Flinn said. “One of the things that I think the region [model] is great for is if you have a call to go and do something, but you don’t want to do it by yourself, contact me. Let me know what you’re doing. I guarantee there’s somebody else in the region that is doing the same thing.”

Flinn, who was ordained to the transitional diaconate in June, said the regional model has been particularly beneficial to the small parishes, helping them join forces and accomplish more together.

“We have several small parishes that are now collaborating in new ways,” Flinn said. “The mentality of regions and networks has really been a lifeline to our smaller communities that don’t have a lot of resources and only have half-time or quarter-time clergy.”

The regional missionaries have organized and facilitated mission trips, spiritual hikes, communication workshops, garden projects, book groups and more, and they also serve as a liaison between parishes and the diocese.

“I spend a lot of time trying to build relationships,” Breen said. “I frequently act as a sort of bridge between what’s happening at the ground level in the parish and then what’s happening at the diocesan house, bringing information from [the diocese] into the parishes, and then also bringing interesting things are happening the parishes up to [the diocese].”

Breen and Flinn were both in the original cohort of missionaries who started in 2017. After their two-year contract expired, three continued as full-time missionaries, while the other three chose not to stay and were replaced by new hires.

Hodapp says the diocese has gotten queries from other dioceses interested in their structural reforms. He says his vision for the future of the regions and the region missionaries is “to be open-minded, and to see where God is going to take us. To fan into flame what’s working, to fan into flame experiments, trying things on, watching things happen and fall apart, figure out what worked and what didn’t.”

“What I’m learning,” Flinn said, “is that our churches are actually doing more than we realize. We just [weren’t] good at telling each other what we’re doing. … That was the biggest discovery.”

– Egan Millard is an assistant editor and reporter for the Episcopal News Service. He can be reached at

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Presiding Bishop fields faith questions from Reddit users in ‘Ask Me Anything’ session

[Episcopal News Service] He may have preached at a royal wedding, but he’s never committed himself to answering whatever questions the users of the social network Reddit might throw at him – until now.

Presiding Bishop Michael Curry spent the afternoon of Oct. 10 participating in his first “Ask Me Anything,” a popular Reddit feature that goes by the shorthand AMA. The idea behind the AMA session is for a person of some renown or import – from Bill Gates to a local TV weatherman – to mingle with the average Reddit user and take any and all questions. Curry’s AMA can be found on the r/Christianity subreddit.

Curry on Reddit

Presiding Bishop Michael Curry holds a sign promoting his Oct. 10 “Ask Me Anything” session on the social network Reddit.

“Looking forward to talking all things Episcopal Church, The Way of Love, Jesus Movement, and perhaps a little bit about that wedding,” Curry said in his introduction.

Attached was a photo of Curry holding a sign that read, “Hello Reddit!” In the corner of the sign was a hand-drawn depiction of Reddit’s alien mascot, Snoo, dressed in bishop garb.

Over about an hour and a half, the session generated 145 comments between Curry and his questioners. The questions touched on topics that included evangelism, devotional practices, preaching style, theological education, the Episcopal tradition and denominational decline.

“I find it helpful to remember that we are first of all not a religious institution. That we are first of all participants in the movement that Jesus began in the first century,” Curry said. “And that movement of Jesus – a movement of people that gathered around him and his movement of love – that movement has been an underground movement in the first century. … It may well be now that we have returned to being an underground movement again. And that’s okay, because our way is not the way of the world. It is the way of the crucified and risen One.”

The “Ask Me Anything” coincided with the release of new episodes in the second season of The Episcopal Church’s “Way of Love” podcast featuring Curry, according to Jeremy Tackett, Episcopal Church digital evangelist.

“We’ve been working for the past few months to find an opportunity for the presiding bishop to interact with the Reddit /r/Christianity community,” Tackett told Episcopal News Service. “They’re an active group, and we knew there would be great questions and a chance to reach beyond our normal Episcopalian audience.”

Some Reddit users asked Curry about his own spiritual growth.

“How has your relationship with Jesus changed over the years?” asked a user who goes by Ay_Theos_Meo. “How is your spiritual life different from your early days as Christian (if it is different at all)?”

“I have to admit that one of the things that really has changed is that Jesus really has a way of broadening my worldview and perspective rather than constricting and limiting it,” Curry responded, in part.

Another user asked whom Curry would like to meet to discuss faith. “Of course the answer is Jesus,” Curry said. He also added German theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Fannie Lou Hamer, a leader in the civil rights movement.

Other questions were more lighthearted, and Curry was willing to play along.

lindsey7606: “Bishop Curry, what’s your favorite corny bible joke?”

PBCurry: “Old preachers never die, they just go out to pastor!”

And at a few points the “Ask Me Anything” session turned personal. One user mentioned being baptized and confirmed by Curry when he was bishop of the Diocese of North Carolina. Another Reddit user, Tepid_Radical_Reform, told Curry that many years ago Curry’s wife worked with the user’s mother at a bank in Cincinnati, and the mother also babysat Curry’s daughter.

“So, important question: Do you love Cincinnati Skyline Chili?” Tepid_Radical_Reform asked.

“I do,” Curry responded. “Especially when I’m not dieting!”

– David Paulsen is an editor and reporter for Episcopal News Service. He can be reached at

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