It has been a rare and long journey for Michael Bruce Curry, beginning with his mother's improbable decision, as a woman of color, to embrace the then-predominantly white Episcopal Church.
Enamored with the writings of Anglican C.S. Lewis, Curry's mother not only brought him along, but also Curry's father, a Baptist pastor. It was, in segregated Buffalo, N.Y., during the 1950s and '60s, an unusual transition, to say the least.
The younger Curry went on to be ordained as an Episcopal priest in 1978, laboring in Eastern and Southern parishes while earning a reputation for pastoral care, ecumenical outreach and service to the inner-city poor.
In 2000, he rose to bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of North Carolina and became an advocate on social-justice issues, including immigration policy and marriage equality. Then, in June 2015, during the church's national convention in Salt Lake City, Curry was elected the first black president of the Episcopal Church (which includes the U.S. and 16 other countries).
Nearly two years later, the 64-year-old cleric returns to Utah this week as an honored guest and speaker during the annual diocesan convention marking the church's 150th anniversary in Utah.