Michael Curry, the first black presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church in the U.S., delivered a spirited sermon at the royal wedding on Saturday, quoting Martin Luther King Jr. to honor the love shared by Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.
“We must discover the power of love, the redemptive power of love, and when we do that, we will make of this old world a new world,” Curry said, gesturing animatedly as audience members laughed and wept. “Love can help and heal when nothing else can. There’s power in love to lift up and liberate when nothing else will.”
Some of his comments roused more laughs than others, notably when he finished his sermon by asking, “Anybody get here in a car today?”
Curry’s presence at the wedding was a historic and nontraditional feat in itself. British priests from the Church of England are typically the ones presiding over royal weddings in the U.K.
Curry, 65, has been an outspoken advocate for civil rights since his appointment in 2015. Earlier this month, he co-authored a letter commenting on the Me Too movement against sexual abuse and exploitation and announcing the creation of a task force to address issues within the church. (He also wrote a piece in 2012 for HuffPost’s open blog platform.)
In 2016, Curry spoke of racism in the church in an interview with The New York Times, saying: “When I was in seminary, the expectation at the time was that if you were a black priest or seminarian, you were going to be serving in black churches. There was a black church world and a white church world. That was the given-ness of racism, not that anybody said anything.”