Presiding Bishop Michael Curry on Oct. 19, 2019, looks up at one of the columns hanging at the National Memorial for Peace and Justice in Montgomery, Alabama. The steel columns memorialize the victims from all American counties where at least one lynching occurred from 1877 to 1950.
Photo: David Paulsen/Episcopal News Service
by David Paulsen
Episcopal News Service
March 23, 2022
[EPISCOPAL NEWS SERVICE] The shape of much of the church’s present work toward racial healing dates to 1991 and the 70th General Convention, when the church first committed to examining its past for vestiges of white supremacy. In the past two years, those efforts have gained renewed urgency amid widespread public outrage over the killings of unarmed African Americans by police officers and white vigilantes, including George Floyd in May 2020. The church also has been moved to action by new revelations about the former federal system of Indigenous boarding schools in the United States, some with Episcopal ties, that sought to assimilate Native American children at the expense of their cultures and family bonds.
The presiding officers’ working group concluded that the church needs to make an intentional and ongoing commitment – to listening to the stories of those who have been harmed by the church, to reckoning with the church’s complicity in systemic racism rooted in white supremacy and to developing healing processes that will become a common part of church life.
That work also “must lead to changes in our patterns of governance, the way we gather as The Episcopal Church and our liturgical practices,” the report says. “We do not anticipate all this to happen in one triennium, but for it to become an ongoing priority of the church.”