[Episcopal News Service] The Union of Black Episcopalians brought 300 participants to Los Angeles last week from around the country, the Caribbean, Central America, and the United Kingdom for the group’s 51st annual business meeting and conference, Episcopal News Service reports.

For four days the group worshipped, conducted business, and attended workshops focused on social justice. They observed the 400th anniversary of the arrival of the first slave ships in what would become the United States; they celebrated the ministry of three African-American women who have been consecrated as diocesan bishops in just the last year; and heard the world’s most prominent black Episcopalian preach a youth-oriented sermon urging greater participation in America’s political process.

Presiding Bishop Michael B. Curry urged worshippers to mount “a massive voter-registration and education drive and a get-out-the-vote campaign” between now and the 2020 election.

Curry repeatedly emphasized that he was not trying to tell anyone how to vote, and said the commandment to “love your neighbor” has to apply to people who disagree with you. “Democrats, you have to find a Republican neighbor and love that neighbor. Republicans, you have to find a Democrat neighbor. And Independents, you can go either way!”

Still, there was no mistaking Curry’s own sympathies. “Something is fundamentally wrong when crowds chant about a congresswoman, a Somali American, and say to ‘send her home,’ and when the president of the United States says, ‘You need to go back home,’” to four congresswomen of color who have been openly critical of him,” he said.

ENS has more on the sermon here, and a wrap-up of the conference here.

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