All photos by Gabe Archer.
The dust has settled from Presiding Bishop Curry’s whirlwind trip across the Diocese of Olympia, but the enthusiasm stirred up throughout the Episcopal Church in Western Washington remains. Over four days, the Most Reverend Michael B. Curry, Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church, traveled to nearly every corner of the diocese – from Bellingham in the north to Vancouver, WA in the south. He also split his time between larger public events (services and Q&A sessions) and smaller, more intimate gatherings that showed the range of ministries within the diocese.
Over the last few weeks we’ve shared highlights and recaps from the Presiding Bishop’s visit to the diocese. On Saturday, June 16, Presiding Bishop Curry began the day at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Olympia for a Q&A with Bishop Rickel, followed by a trip to Aberdeen to visit the Harbor Roots Farm and a march to Aberdeen City Hall with Chaplains on the Harbor to advocate for affordable housing.
The pews at St. John, Olympia were full as individuals from across the diocese streamed in for the last of the Presiding Bishop’s Q&A sessions with Bishop Rickel. As was often the case during his visit to the diocese, Presiding Bishop Curry spoke about the importance of the Jesus movement. “The invitation to be the Jesus Movement is a call to return to our origins,” he exhorted. “Because as we return to our origin, we return to the deepest roots of our faith.” When asked about ways we can more fully participate as individuals in the Jesus Movement, Presiding Bishop Curry said, “Think of ways that you can put Jesus of Nazareth at the center of your day. Maybe that means you read part of the gospel each day. Read it again and again and ask what you think Jesus might be saying to you. And read it again and ask what he’s asking you to do. Do that at the beginning of your day and your day may be different. We need to center Jesus again.”
The Q&A in Olympia also included a short break in which Bishop Rickel and Presiding Bishop Curry acknowledged the long service of the 97-year-old Rev. Ed Sterling and make him an Honorary Canon.
Next up on the itinerary was a trip to the Harbor Roots Farm – a ministry of Chaplains on the Harbor that rents out a plot of land in Grays Harbor Country and creates apprenticeships for people in poverty, providing them with training and living wages. The Presiding Bishop received a tour of the farm from several of the apprentices and the farm’s coordinator. He even tasted some of the fresh lettuce – picked on the spot!
The trip to the Harbors Roots Farm was a preamble to the rest of his trip to Aberdeen which included a march through the city’s streets – from the largest homeless encampment to the steps of City Hall for a rally to advocate for affordable housing. Along the way, the Presiding Bishop learned about the history of Grays Harbor County and the increasingly desperate situation for many in the region. On the steps of City Hall, Presiding Bishop Curry applauded the work of those advocating for people in poverty. “You have moved me,” he said. “This is the way movements happen. They start off small, and then they grow! You are a mustard seed movement! Don’t give up now! We have just begun! This movement for dignity for homeless people is part of a larger movement – to make this nation a place where love and justice and dignity applies to all!”
You can also read Bishop Rickel’s reflections on the day in Aberdeen:
It was another day of crisscrossing Western Washington during Presiding Bishop Curry’s visit to the Diocese of Olympia. Check back next week for highlights and recaps of the Presiding Bishop’s final day in Western Washington!