VCC to welcome top Episcopalian bishop this June

Published 10:14 pm Friday, April 29, 2016

Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Michael Curry, the first African American Presiding Bishop in the Episcopal Church, will be visiting Vicksburg this summer.

He is scheduled to preach an 11 a.m. worship and Eucharist service Sunday, June 12 at the Vicksburg Convention Center.

“Anyone who wants to come can attend the service,” said Linda Tolliver, junior warden at Saint Mary’s Episcopal Church.

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This will be Curry’s first visit to Mississippi as bishop, and he will make two stops— one in Jackson and one in Vicksburg.

“This has just been a blessing to us,” Tolliver said. “I feel it’s just been truly a blessing.”

The Rev. Beth Palmer of The Church of the Holy Trinity said four churches in Jackson originally asked Curry to preach at a joint service honoring Medgar Evers. Curry accepted the invitation and a Vicksburg stop was added to the trip.

The service in Jackson will be during the evening of June 11, at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Cathedral.

Saint Mary’s Episcopal Church will be the host church in Vicksburg, and Tolliver said Saint Mary’s is one of the oldest black churches in Mississippi—its cornerstone is dated 1885. However, the service is being held at the convention center because of the expectation of large crowds.

“The bishop is coming as part of the celebration for the feast of James Chaney and his companion martyrs of Neshoba 1964,” Tolliver said.

She said Chaney and others suffered violence in 1964 during integration as they attempted to gain civil rights in Philadelphia. Tolliver said those who stood up to violence for the rights of everyone would be remembered.

In March, the Rev. Margaret Ayers of Saint Mary’s Episcopal Church announced at a Lions Club meeting that Curry would be coming to Vicksburg.

“He is a dynamic speaker. He talks a lot about evangelism and reconciliation and coming together,” Ayers said.

Palmer said Curry is a high energy, evangelistic speaker and promotes people going out into the world and spreading the gospel.

“He’s a fabulous preacher, and he is just on fire for God,” Palmer said.

Palmer said anyone who is baptized, regardless of denomination, is welcome to receive communion during the service.

After the service there will be a reception at The Bluff, 1509 Washington St.