Journey: A Truth and Reparations Reflection

Jun 21, 2024 | Stories from the Diocese

The Episcopal Church, like many institutions across America, shares a complex and painful history with slavery. This truth is woven into the very fabric of our story, and it is a truth that can be difficult to face. In the Diocese of Virginia, some parishes owned enslaved people whose labor built and maintained our most cherished churches. Prominent members of our Church actively participated in this system of oppression, and the Church has unquestionably benefited from investments tied to chattel slavery, violence against Indigenous peoples and land, segregation, and other systems of racial injustice.

While reconciling this truth is challenging, it also presents a powerful opportunity for growth and the realization of true justice. At our 227th Convention, we took a significant step forward by empowering the Truth and Reparations Task Force “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.”

The call for reparations in the Diocese of Virginia is more than just about financial compensation. It is a call for the transformation of hearts and minds toward love and justice—the building blocks of Beloved Community. This journey begins with exploring our shared history and facing hard truths, no matter how difficult they may be. It invites communities to learn alongside each other about the painful impacts of slavery, white supremacy, and colonialism on our Church and the wider community. The journey requires open dialogue –space for not only courageous conversations but hopeful, justice-rooted possibilities where all are able to thrive.

We invite you to explore the resources on the website and talk with your leadership about employing them in your parish.