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Episcopal Church making uneven progress in repenting of racism

Episcopal Church making uneven progress in repenting of racism

Last night at St. Philip’s Cathedral, Episcopalians in the Diocese of Atlanta attended a service of repentance and reconciliation in response to the sin of racism.

In a pastoral letter announcing the service, the Rt. Rev. Rob Wright, the first African American bishop of the diocese wrote:

“The history books tell us The Episcopal Church in the U. S. and Georgia is not innocent concerning racism. Though we as the church have been called to live differently and been given the spiritual power to accomplish this calling, the church has actively participated in and profited from the institutionalizing of the sin of racism.”

What has your diocese done to understand and repent of its involvement or complicity in slavery, Jim Crow laws and institutionalized racism?

Resolution A-123 of the 2006 General Convention urged “every Diocese to collect and document during the next triennium detailed information in its community on (a) the complicity of The Episcopal Church in the institution of slavery and in the subsequent history of segregation and discrimination and (b) the economic benefits The Episcopal Church derived from the institution of slavery.” It also asked each diocese to hold a service of repentance. But fulfillment of this resolution has been uneven, at best, across our church.

catechtp.jpg When A-123 attracted little response, the 2009 General Convention issued a similar resolution, A-143.

The collection of diocesan responses is available electronically at The Episcopal Archives.

Deputy Sally Johnson, chancellor to the president of the House of Deputies, in preparation for General Convention 2012, prepared the white paper, Are Resolutions of General Convention binding? It is available for download at the House of Deputies governance page.

[Catechism at Documenting the American South.] Facebooktwitterpinterestlinkedinmail

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John B. Chilton

Some samples from the Catechism:


Q. You said, too, that in baptism you were made an “inheritor of the kingdom of heaven;”–Now, I want to show you what this means. If I had come to you this morning, and told you that your master [or that some kind friend] had died, and left you a rich present or gift, which

you were to have when you were grown up, if you were good children, you would know what I meant, would you not?

A. Yes; I should.

Q. And you would be anxious to be good children, that you might get the rich gift, would you not?

A. Yes; I should.


Q. What do you mean by doing no bad things, such things as the devil tempts you to do?

A. I mean that I must not hurt any body; must not disobey my parents–[nor disobey my master] nor disobey God.

Q. But can you not disobey your parents [and your master] without their knowing it?

A. Yes; but God knows it; for God always sees me.


Q. Who is your neighbor?

A. Every body who lives with me, and around me, and has the control over me.

Q. Can you name some persons?

A. My playfellows, [my master and mistress] and my parents.

Q. How are you to show your love to your playfellows?

A. I am never to curse them, nor hurt them, but to try always to do them good.

Q. How are you to show your love to [your master and mistress] and your parents?

A. I am never to lie to them, to steal from them, nor speak bad words about them; but always to do as they bid me.


I assume that in the “Catechism” pictured, the Great Commandment is “Slaves, Obey Your Masters”?

Lord Christ, the hallowed enslaved-in-life dead, and their descendents: have mercy upon us.

JC Fisher

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