Updated Jan. 19, 2017 (video link added): On Saturday, January 7, an electric crowd of about 800 Episcopalians, friends, and family experienced the amazing presence of the Most Rev. Michael Curry, presiding bishop and chief pastor of the Episcopal Church. His keynote address in Salinas energized, inspired, and entertained the enthusiastic crowd, explaining the origins of the Jesus Movement and urging Christians to share Jesus’ message of love with a world in need.
Hosted by the Diocese of El Camino Real, the January 7 revival-style event also included an equally lively address from Canon Stephanie Spellers on 21st Century mission and ministry, plus panel discussions and audience Q&A. The day’s events were emceed by Joseph W. Heston, president of central coast television station KSBW-TV. Heston introduced Bishop Mary Gray-Reeves, who welcomed the crowd and brought out Bishop Curry for a “bishops’ selfie” before he began his address.
“Jesus didn’t start a church — he started a movement,” said Bishop Curry during his rousing 45-minute talk. “The church, at its most authentic, is a movement for Jesus. I believe that movement — one of good people and good faith — can change the world.”
“How does the church reach out to diverse communities? You are the answer!” he told the crowd. “Evangelism is as much about listening as it is sharing.”
Bishop Curry’s entertaining speaking style also produced some one-liners that brought frequent roars of laughter from the audience. Early in his address he noted that Jesus didn’t exactly draw from the “A-list” in choosing his disciples, and he later pointed out that only Jesus’ female followers even bothered to visit the tomb. “If Jesus only had male disciples, we still might not know that he rose from the dead!”
Canon Spellers picked up on the themes of evangelism and connection in her afternoon address, kicking things off by singing “Wade in the Water” and bringing the crowd to its feet. “Love must act, as light must shine and fire must burn,” she said, quoting a sign at Holy Cross Monastery in New York, and adding, “The love of God is bigger than the fear of evangelism.”
“People are hurting in ways we haven’t seen in a long time,” she added. “We can be the people who love on others . . . the listeners, the people who walk alongside others . . . create space to welcome others.”
Panel discussions and questions from the audience followed each of the keynote addresses. Panelists included representatives from each of the diocese’s three deaneries: the Rev. Ian Delinger, (San Luis Obispo), Dave Mora (Monterey) and Katy Dickinson (Santa Clara Valley).
“This is one of those times that you have to be in the room,” tweeted Kris Austin of St. Jude’s, Cupertino. “God is definitely in the house!”
More coverage can be found in the January 13 and January 20 issues of Along the King’s Highway.
Video of Bishop Curry’s and Canon Spellers’ talks are available on our YouTube page. Visit our Facebook and Twitter pages for more coverage and photos of the special day. Click the following hashtag to see attendees’ Tweets, pictures, and video clips: #PBinRealEpiscopal
(photos by Elrond Lawrence, diocesan communications)