Support the Café

Search our Site

Virginia Seminary to Designate Funds for Reparations

Virginia Seminary to Designate Funds for Reparations

From the seminary’s press release (new link added):

Virginia Theological Seminary recognizes that enslaved persons worked on the campus, and that even after slavery ended, VTS participated in segregation. VTS recognizes that we must start to repair the material consequences of our sin in the past.

The income from the endowment will be allocated annually in conversation with key stakeholders for the following purposes:

    • the needs emerging from local congregations linked with VTS;
    • the particular needs of any descendants of enslaved persons that worked at the Seminary;
    • the work of African American alumni/ae, especially in historic Black congregations;
    • the raising up of African American clergy in The Episcopal Church;
    • other activities and programs that promote justice and inclusion.
The Very Rev. Ian S. Markham, Ph.D. dean and president of VTS, explained: “This is a start. As we seek to mark Seminary’s milestone of 200 years, we do so conscious that our past is a mixture of sin as well as grace. This is the Seminary recognizing that along with repentance for past sins, there is also a need for action.”

Café Comments?

Our comment policy requires that you use your real first and last names and provide an email address (your email will not be published). Comments that use non-PG rated language, include personal attacks, that are not provable as fact or that we deem in any way to be counter to our mission of fostering respectful dialogue will not be posted.

Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Kurt Hill

Reparations is a very bad idea, IMO. I understand the positive motivations behind the call, but I think that class-based affirmative action programs–for people of all races and ethnic groups who need a helping hand up–is a far better way of approaching the problem of inequality. As late as the 1960s Reparations for slavery made some sense, since there were still a fair number of actual children of slaves living in this country–immediate, direct descendants of those who had been enslaved. Even the Germans don’t pay reparations beyond the immediate descendants of those who suffered under the Nazi regime. One can only imagine what white supremacists would do with such a program to act as a foil for their racist propaganda…

Simon Burris

I don’t see how anything other than compensation to the descendants of the specific slaves could count as “reparations.” The idea that some of the product of the slaves’ (forced) labor will contribute to “the raising up of African American clergy in The Episcopal Church” just seems like a convenient conflation of the slaves’ interests with the interest of TEC.

I think real reparations don’t come with strings attached, and aren’t channeled through the pet projects of the original slave holders. If VTS really wants to pay reparations, they should find the descendants, calculate the wages, cut the checks, send them out, and not try to control how the money is spent.

Support the Café
Past Posts

The Episcopal Café seeks to be an independent voice, reporting and reflecting on the Episcopal Church and the Anglican tradition.  The Café is not a platform of advocacy, but it does aim to tell the story of the church from the perspective of Progressive Christianity.  Our collective sympathy, as the Café, lies with the project of widening the circle of inclusion within the church and empowering all the baptized for the role to which they have been called as followers of Christ.

The opinions expressed at the Café are those of individual contributors, and, unless otherwise noted, should not be interpreted as official statements of a parish, diocese or other organization. The art and articles that appear here remain the property of their creators.

All Content  © 2017 Episcopal Café