Reparations

The 227th Convention passed Resolution R-10a in November 2021, which committed the Diocese to create a $10,000,000 fund for reparations to benefit Black, Indigenous, and peoples of color communities.

The resolution cites that “the Episcopal Church and the Diocese of Virginia have a long history of support for and complicity with chattel slavery, violence against Indigenous peoples and land, segregation and other racist systems.” It further acknowledges that the Diocese “is home to numerous church buildings constructed by enslaved people, and many parishes within the Diocese of Virginia are grappling with their history of support for slavery and white supremacy, and their ongoing complicity in racial injustice.”

R-10a directs the Bishop to create a Task Force on Reparations “to identify and propose means by which repair may begin for those areas of our structures, patterns, and common life by which Black, Indigenous, People of Color ….still carry the burden of injustices, exclusions, and biases born out of white supremacy and the legacy of slavery.” Click to read frequently asked questions about R-10a.

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Journey: A Truth and Reparations Reflection

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Process: A Truth and Reparations Reflection

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A Prayer for Truth, Reparation, and Healing

The Truth and Reparations Task Force invested significant time and prayerfully developed a prayer resource to guide our collective work toward reparations within the Diocese of Virginia. This process involved deep reflection, collaborative writing, and moments of both profound sorrow and unwavering hope.

Our prayer seeks to confront the unavoidable truth of The Episcopal Church’s historical participation in and profiteering from systemic racism, particularly the foundational evil of chattel slavery. We recognize that ignoring or minimizing the ongoing impact of this past perpetuates harm and prevents true healing. The prayer, offered in both long and short forms, boldly names the sins of silence, white supremacy, and complicity, refusing to shy away from their devastating consequences: generational pain, torn families, and shattered hopes.

Ultimately, this prayer asks God to help us see ourselves and the Church with honesty, moving us from denial to acceptance of the truth and repair. The Truth and Reparations Task Force hopes that this prayer will strengthen our resolve to continue this challenging yet essential work – a work fundamentally rooted in Christian discipleship and love.

A Prayer for Truth, Reparation, and Healing

Creator God

We stand before you with humble hearts, acknowledging the wrongs inflicted and justified by the Episcopal Church in Virginia. We confess the sins of silence, white supremacy and complicity in the systems that promoted chattel slavery and race-based oppression. We grieve the generational pain and suffering caused, the families torn apart, and the dreams dashed.

Forgive us, O Lord.

Wash away arrogance, complacency, despair, and indifference. Open our eyes to the truth of our past, the seizure of indigenous lands, and the continued legacy of race-based slavery in the present. Grant us the courage to face it head-on. Help us to sit with sorrow and guide us toward repentance. Lead us to do justice and to repair the harm that has been caused.

Strengthen us, O Lord.

Empower us to dismantle the structures of racism and oppression that still exist within our church and society. Guide us to engage in truthful dialogue and meaningful collaboration across racial lines. Grant us the resources and wisdom to address the legacy of slavery and oppression in concrete ways.

Guide us, O Lord.

Holy Spirit, work through us to build your beloved community where all people are valued and treated with dignity and respect. Let this be a time of healing and hope, a time of repentance and transformation. As beloved children of God, may we do justice and make repair.

Through Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen.

Condensed version:

Gracious God, we pray for an understanding of the wrongs inflicted by the Episcopal Church in Virginia that promoted slavery and diminished the lives of the global majority. May we continue to embrace justice and repair, that all in your Beloved Community might thrive.  Amen.

The Rt. Rev. Eugene Sutton’s Presentation on Reparations in the Diocese of Maryland

Bishop Sutton, Bishop of the Diocese of Maryland, gave the following presentation to the 228th Annual Convention of the Diocese of Virginia.