Collecting and documenting evidence of the benefits derived by the Diocese of New York from the institution of slavery
Our definition of Reparations. “Reparations is the process to remember, repair, restore, reconcile and make amends for wrongs that can never be singularly reducible to monetary terms. The process of reparations is “an historical reckoning involving acknowledgement that an offense against humanity was committed and that the victims have not received justice.*”
*Passage in quotes offered by Bernice Powell Jackson, Executive Minister for Justice Ministry, The United Church of Christ.
The Episcopal Diocese of New York’s Reparations Commission (before 2022, known as the “Reparations Committee on Slavery”) was created by the 330th Diocesan Convention in response to three 2006 General Convention resolutions calling on dioceses to respond to the Transatlantic Slave Trade and its aftermath of segregation and discrimination.
The role of the Reparations Committee is to collect and document information on the complicity of the Diocese of New York in the institution of slavery and its subsequent history of segregation and discrimination. The committee will consider the benefits the Episcopal Church derived from the institution of slavery and collect, through documentation and storytelling, information on historical and present-day privilege and under-privilege in order to discern a process toward restorative justice. The Committee’s findings will help to determine whether the diocese is called to conduct a truth and reconciliation process with regard to the legacies of racial discrimination and oppression.
In order to facilitate the storytelling and documentation of congregations, the Reparations Committee has produced a DVD for churches called, The Diocese of New York Examines Slavery: Talking About Reparations, Repair and Reconciliation. It is a 30-minute exploration of the Church’s involvement in the Transatlantic Slave Trade. Congregations are asked to view the DVD and use it as a guide in helping them examine the history of their church and its connection to the Transatlantic Slave Trade and its aftermath of segregation and discrimination – including economic benefits, the establishment of separate chapels for Africans, the seating of Africans in balconies of churches, the construction of churches by enslaved people, the ownership of slaves by early rectors or the work of church abolitionists. Members of the New York Reparations Committee are requesting that congregations examine their histories and send their findings to Committee members in compliance with General Convention Resolution A123. Members of the Committee are available to assist congregations with workshops using the DVD. Contact: Nell Braxton Gibson – (212) 699-2998 or send a message via the “Contact Us” page.
Reparations Commission Members
Ms. Cynthia Copeland, St Mark’s in-the-Bowery, Manhattan – CO-CHAIR
The Reverend Richard Witt, Rural & Migrant Ministry – CO-CHAIR
The Reverend Trevor Babb, Christ Church New Brighton, Staten Island
Ms. Carla Burns, Church of the Holy Innocents, Highland Falls
Ms. Wendy Cañas, St. Ann’s, Bronx
Ms. Nell Braxton Gibson, St Mark’s in-the-Bowery, Manhattan
The Reverend Charles Kramer, St James, Hyde Park
Ms. Lynnaia Main, Eglise française du Saint Esprit, Manhattan
The Reverend Dr. Allison Moore, St Andrew’s, New Paltz
Ms. Diane Pollard, Trinity Wall Street, Manhattan
The Reverend Astrid Storm, St James the Less, Scarsdale
Mr. Waddell Stillman, St. James, Manhattan
The Right Reverend Mary Glasspool, Bishop Assistant, Diocese of New York, Ex Officio