More than 3,000 people filled the Entertainment and Sports Arena in Southeast Sunday as the Rev. Michael B. Curry, presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church, preached during a revival titled “More Jesus, More Love.”
Curry mixed scripture with humor during the revival, which was part of a weekend of meetings and services convened by the Episcopal Diocese of Washington in which Curry preached at venues ranging from the National Cathedral to St. Timothy’s Episcopal Church in Southeast.
“This is the largest diocesan-wide gathering in our history, and part of an entire weekend of events with the potential to reach every congregation and beyond with a message of God’s love, revealed in Jesus, for all people,” Mariann Edgar Budde, bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington, said in a statement.
Curry’s involvement in the 125th Diocesan Convention of the Episcopal District of Washington began Saturday at the National Cathedral.
Sunday morning, he conducted a Eucharist service at St. Timothy’s where he talked about the state of Black and multicultural churches across the country. Then members of various Episcopal congregations gathered at the Entertainment and Sports Arena on the old St. Elizabeths Hospital campus.
The event began with an eclectic offering of music that ranged from hymns to an acoustic guitarist to soul-stirring gospel. The speakers displayed the diversity of the diocese, including Jay Cryton, a self-identifying “gay millennial” who told the audience, “our church is an embassy for Jesus.”
Another attendee, Jennifer Amuzie, who said she is the daughter of a minister who grew up in Calvary Episcopal Church, said “nobody needs Jesus more than Christians.”
The woman talked about how the church drove her to be an activist and to visit the U.S.-Mexico border after six immigrant children died in U.S. custody.
“Jesus loves all of us,” she said.
Curry, following up on Amuzie’s comments, said, “There are no walls in love that comes from God,” adding, “I wish that I could preach in the Senate.”
Curry, who rose to worldwide prominence in 2018 when he delivered the sermon at the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, said one of the biggest results of his participation in the royal ceremony is being invited to give interviews. He said he started to decline an interview on TMZ but reconsidered upon learning how popular the tabloid organization is with young folks.
“We got Jesus on TMZ,” said Curry, who added that young people “want to believe that when you get pulled down by reality love can lift you up. Love is the only thing that has ever worked.”
As Curry preached, word spread the arena that NBA legend Kobe Bryant had been killed in a helicopter crash. Even though he might not have known, he continued with his message with his Latino interpreter close to him.
As Curry concluded his message, he exited the podium and engaged in a call-and-response with the crowd, repeatedly shouting “More Jesus!” as the audience replied with “More love!”