US-POLITICS-RELIGION-PRAYER-VIGIL

Bishop Michael Curry: Royal Wedding Speaker, Protest Leader

The head of the Episcopal Church is bringing the power of love to Washington.

From Windsor Castle to the White House, it's been a busy week for American Bishop Michael Curry. On Saturday, the head of the Episcopal Church delivered a rousing sermon at the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, delighting many (and dismaying a few) with his fiery oratory in St. George's Chapel. Then on Thursday, Curry led a candlelight vigil and protest in Washington, D.C., meant to highlight the "dangerous crisis of moral and political leadership at the highest levels of our government and in our churches."

WALK TO THE WHITE HOUSE BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images WALK TO THE WHITE HOUSE At the protest on Thursday night Curry, the senior-most figure in the American Episcopal church, told protestors to care for "the neighbor you like and the neighbor you don’t like." The crowd, which event organizers estimated at 2,000, heard Curry say, "Love your neighbor. That's why we're here," before leading a silent candle-lit procession to the White House. BREAKING BARRIERS The Washington Post/Getty Images BREAKING BARRIERS A long-time seeker of social justice, Curry has always been a force (for good) to be reckoned with. Born in Chicago and raised in Buffalo, New York, Curry earned a Master of Divinity degree from the Yale Divinity School in 1978 and began his ministry in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. In 2015, he was elected presiding bishop and primate of the Episcopal Church — the first African-American to hold the title. COMMUNITY MINDED WPA Pool/Getty Images COMMUNITY MINDED Over the course of his 40-year ministry, Curry's work has largely focused on bolstering the social services and infrastructure of his parishes. He's helped found summer day camps, educational centers, and networks of family day-care providers, in addition to brokering millions of dollars of investments into inner-city neighborhoods. THE MESSAGE The Washington Post/Getty Images THE MESSAGE At Curry's first sermon as presiding bishop, he said, "Now is our time to go. To go into the world, let the world know that there is a God who loves us, a God who will not let us go, and that that love can set us all free." A ROYAL AFFAIR WPA Pool/Getty Images A ROYAL AFFAIR The Bishop initially thought it was an April Fool's prank when he received the call to preach at Harry and Meghan's wedding. But his address was no joke: Curry's lengthy sermon, which referenced everything from Martin Luther King Jr. to social media, reiterated the importance and power of love. "Love is not selfish and self-centered. Love can be sacrificial, and in so doing, becomes redemptive," he said. "And that way of unselfish, sacrificial, redemptive love changes lives, and it can change this world."