The upcoming wedding between Prince Henry of Whales (more simply called Prince Harry in the media) and American actress Meghan Markle has already captured the attention of the public on both sides of the Atlantic.
The marriage already represents a departure from standard royal nuptials with Markle being only the second American citizen to marry into the royal family (the first being Wallis Simpson in 1937 which led to the abdication of the crown by King Edward VIII).
There will be another historic moment included in the celebration. On May 12, the Anglican Communion News Service announced Michael Bruce Curry, Presiding Bishop and Primate of the Episcopal Church, will be delivering the sermon at the royal wedding. This represents a departure from tradition for British Royal weddings. Curry will serve alongside the Dean of Windsor, David Conner, and the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby.
“The love that has brought and will bind Prince Harry and Ms. Meghan Markle together has its source and origin in God, and is the key to life and happiness,” Curry said upon the announcement of his participation. “And so we celebrate and pray for them today.”
The Episcopal Church in the United States is a part of the Anglican Communion, along with the original Church of England, however it has operated as a separate organization since the end of the Revolutionary War. In 1784, the bishops of the Church of England refused to consecrate the first bishop of the American church, who went to the bishops in Scotland instead.
Curry is notable also as the first African-American to preside over the historic American church. Curry has been seen as a progressive leader of the church, which has been criticized by other parts of the Anglican Communion on issues such as gay marriage and female priests. He has called for Episcopalians in the U.S., and Christians in general, to become part of the “Jesus Movement.”
“I can tell you that I believe passionately in the Great Commission and its call to go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit; and teaching them to obey everything that Jesus has taught us,” Curry said.
“I believe that that’s a call, an invitation and an exciting possibility; and I think that is one of the foundational principles of our call to be the Church: to help to make other followers of Jesus who can then, following his teachings and following the way of Jesus in their life and in our lives together, help to make this world a better world – something that is less like a nightmare and more like God’s dream and God’s vision and God’s intention for the human family and the whole of creation.
“That, for me, is one of the centerpieces of the Gospel.”
The wedding will take place on May 19 in London.