Several hundred people gathered Saturday for a Vigil Eucharist preceding Sunday’s installation of Presiding Bishop-elect Michael Curry.

The service, hosted by the Union of Black Episcopalians at the Washington Armory, began with prayers for and with Curry around a baptismal font, which flowed into a soulful performance of “Shall We Gather at the River?”

The Rev. Canon Sandye A. Wilson, rector of St. Andrew and Holy Communion Church in South Orange, New Jersey, preached about the historic nature of the occasion, the tension between the Jesus Movement and the institutional church, and the challenges that Curry will face in the coming years.

“There will be days when we are convinced that we know better than the new presiding bishop and days when we are convinced that he is making decisions counter to the decisions we would make if we were in his shoes,” Wilson said. “That is the nature of leadership, and I would like to invite you to make a covenant today to pray for him and not prey on him.”

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Story and photo by Matt Townsend

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