Presiding Bishop Curry to Speak at Commencement

Presiding Bishop Michael Curry will give the address at CDSP’s 123rd Commencement on May 19 at 10:30 am at the Chapel of the Great Commission at Pacific School of Religion. The event is open to the public and will be broadcast live online at

He will also preside at the baccalaureate Eucharist at 5:45 pm on May 18 at CDSP’s All Saints Chapel.

Curry, the first black presiding bishop in the church’s history, is a graduate of Hobart College and the Yale University Divinity School. Since his election in 2015, he has worked to focus the church’s energies on evangelism and racial reconciliation in the context of “the Jesus movement.”

“Our leaders need to know how to help a community of people—a church—to both listen to the ways of faith and share faith,” Curry said in an interview for the upcoming issues of Crossings, CDSP’s magazine. “They need to know how to organize a community to be a community that is genuinely and authentically evangelical in the best sense of that word, in the biblical sense, a community of good news.”

In his Crossings interview, Curry said community organizing training had taught him, “how to provide leadership in a variety of settings, but particularly in a church.”

The Very Rev. Mark Richardson, CDSP’s dean and president, said Curry’s visit comes at a propitious time. “The presence of Presiding Bishop Curry among us at this most important time of year of commencement is a great honor. We will be uplifted by his passion and wisdom as we also share with him the steps CDSP is taking to form leaders for the church’s future.

“Our revised curriculum focuses on mission, discipleship and evangelism, and we now require a course in community organizing that equips students with skills in building relationships within congregations, and for leading congregations into the neighborhood.

“It is particularly fortunate that during the Presiding Bishop’s visit, he will demonstrate the power of the church’s leadership in the civic sphere by participating in the Diocese of California’s conference Eco-Justice: Safeguarding Climate, Food and Water.”

At the commencement, CDSP will award the Master of Divinity degree to seven candidates, including the first graduate from its low-residency program, and will also grant degrees or certificates to 13 students who have completed one of the following courses of study: the Doctor of Ministry, the Certificate of Anglican Studies, the Certificate of Theological Studies, the Certificate of Advanced Ministry Studies, and the Master of Arts degree in cooperation with the Graduate Theological Union.

The seminary will also grant honorary degrees to Curry, the Rt. Rev. Martin Barahona, retired bishop of El Salvador, who has been a staunch advocate for human rights in his country and survived a 2010 assassination attempt, and the Rev. Dr. Jae-Jeong Lee, superintendent of education in Gyeonggi province, South Korea, a lifelong advocate for higher education, human rights, democracy and the reunification of the Korean peninsula.