By Kirk Petersen
Presiding Bishop Michael B. Curry’s health issues have caused him to cancel all plans for air travel through the end of June, the Church Center announced on June 8. Curry was hospitalized briefly in late May after experiencing internal bleeding, and is being treated for atrial fibrillation, a condition that causes the heart to beat in an irregular way.
Curry, 70, “is receiving thorough testing and monitoring to understand the relationship between his medication for atrial fibrillation and the episode of internal bleeding,” the announcement said. “The necessary process of diagnostic appointments, treatment, and follow-up will take some weeks.” Curry lives in North Carolina, and is being treated there.
Public Affairs Officer Amanda Skofstad said the need for rest and avoiding air travel will cause Curry to miss the thrice-yearly meeting of the Executive Council, scheduled for June 12-15 in Providence, Rhode Island. The Executive Council is the governing body of the church between the triennial General Conventions. In his absence, President of the House of Deputies Julia Ayala Harris will chair the meeting in Providence.
Some members of the 40-person Executive Council have participated remotely at recent council meetings, but Curry does not plan to do so, Skofstad said. He will record a video greeting that will be played at the opening plenary session.
The presiding bishop typically serves as the chief consecrator when a new bishop is consecrated, but Curry will miss two consecrations this month, Skofstad said. The Rev. Justin Holcomb will be consecrated as the fifth Bishop of Central Florida on June 10, and the Rev. Sally French will become the 13th Bishop of New Jersey on June 24. The Rt. Rev. Mike Klusmeyer, who serves as canon to the presiding bishop for ministry within the Episcopal Church, will stand in for Curry in Central Florida.
Curry also has canceled plans to attend the triennial meeting of the Anglican Church of Canada’s General Synod, scheduled June 27 to July 2 in Calgary, Skofstad said.
The presiding bishop’s nine-year term ends on October 31, 2024, and his successor will be elected at the General Convention in June 2024 in Louisville, Kentucky. Curry previously was hospitalized in 2018, when his cancerous prostate was removed, and in 2015, barely a month after taking office, for emergency brain surgery to relieve a subdural hematoma.