Recorded August 20, 2020

Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church

North Carolina Poet Laureate

Gospel Recording Artist


August 20, 2020 | 7:00pm – 8:30pm


Presiding Bishop Curry and Mike Wiley discuss “Taking on Diversity: Becoming The Beloved Community”

Jaki Shelton Green reads selected poems

Jennifer Evans performs “Higher Ground”


The Very Right Rev. Michael Curry 

The descendant of enslaved Africans brought to North America by way of the trans-Atlantic slave routes, Presiding Bishop Curry was born in Chicago, IL, on March 13, 1953. His father was an Episcopal priest and his mother was a devout Episcopalian. She died at a young age, and Presiding Bishop Curry, along with his sister, was raised by his father and his grandmother. His father, mother and grandmother grounded him in Christian beliefs and practices through their example and their teachings.

In 2015, Bishop Michael Curry was elected the first African-American to serve as presiding bishop in The Episcopal Church, following 15 years as the first African-American diocesan bishop of the Episcopal Church to serve the Episcopal Diocese of North Carolina.

He has authored four books: The Power of Love (2018); Following the Way of Jesus: Church’s Teachings in a Changing World (2017); Songs My Grandma Sang (2015); and Crazy Christians:  A Call to Follow Jesus (2013). He was one of the subjects of In Conversation: Michael Curry and Barbara Harris by Fredrica Harris Thompsett (2017).

Click here to learn more about The Very Right Rev. Michael Curry


Jaki Shelton Green

Jaki Shelton Green is a native of Orange County, NC. She is the first African American and the third woman to serve as the North Carolina’s Poet Laureate. For more than 40 years, she has served as ambassador for poetry and the spoken word. Jaki is a 2014 North Carolina Literary Hall of Fame inductee and was the recipient of the North Carolina Award for Literature in 2003.

Her publications include Dead on Arrival, Dead on Arrival and New Poems, Masks, Conjure Blues, singing a tree into dance, breath of the song, Blue Opal (a play), and Feeding the Light. Green teaches Documentary Poetry at Duke University Center for Documentary Studies. She also teaches poetry and guides at schools, community spaces, universities and colleges throughout the United States.

Click here to learn more about Jaki Shelton Green


Jennifer Evans

Jennifer Evans is a noted composer, actress, recording artist, and singer. She began her singing career in her hometown Baptist Church in rural Mississippi. She has shared the stage with notable playwrights, musicians, and jazz luminaries including Mike Wiley, Robert Griffin, Rick Keena, Carol Sloane, and John Brown. Jennifer also has performed with renown Gospel artists across the country.

Jennifer Evans is sought after by venues for performances including the Arts Center, the Umstead (Indy Arts Awards), the Carolina Theatre (Mahogany Dime Awards) and performing with Grammy Award winner Tift Merritt at the Durham Performance Arts Center for the annual Jim Goodman Awards. She has a beloved legacy with the celebrated Murphey School Radio Show and Hidden Voices Theater Company. She has recorded two CDs, Delayed But Not Denied and Just Your Name. She is currently working on producing a retrospective of her singing career.

Jennifer Evans is a compassionate care-provider for individuals and families facing end of life heath challenges, working with Hospice and caring for the elderly. In Jennifer’s words… “Singing for those making their life transition is better than singing for thousands in a concert.”

Click here to listen to Jennifer Evans on Spotify

Recommended Reading

Bishop Curry’s new book will be available at McIntyre’s Books in September.

To pre-order Love is the Way: Holding on to Hope in Troubling Times 

When purchased through McIntyre’s Books, enter code HIGHERGROUND  at check-out to receive a 20% discount.