Saturday, October 4, 2008


Episcopal Church to apologize for slavery

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori will conduct the service at the church, founded in 1792 by Absalom Jones, a former slave and the first black Episcopal priest.

Jayne Oasin, staff officer for the New York-based Episcopal Church Center, said that the church can't deny its complicity in slavery even after the trans-Atlantic slave trade was outlawed in 1808.

She noted that some historic Episcopal churches were built using slave labor and that members owned or profited from industries associated with it.

'Slavery went against God's law of equality and justice,' she said. 'This apology is made to the descendants [of those] who were wronged.'
This event was originally planned to take place in Washington's National Cathedral, but was moved to Philadelphia. I really think it should have been held in the Cathedral. Moving the event to St Thomas' in Philadelphia - a predominantly African-American parish, founded by Absolom Jones, the first black Episcopal priest - segregates it to become an event just for African Americans. Having it at the National Cathedral would call attention to the whole Episcopal Church's wider role in slavery.

How appropriate, however, that this event also happens on the Feast of St Francis of Assisi.
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury,pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
and where there is sadness, joy.

O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive;
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life. Amen

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