The New York Episcopal Churches have formally apologized for the Church’s participation in the slave trade and announced to launch
$1.1 million fund to address systemic grievances emanating from racism. The funds will be spent on the education and welfare of marginalized Black communities.
A special service was held at the Episcopal Diocese of New York (Saint John the Divine Cathedral in Manhattan) on Sunday to apologize for the church’s participation in the dreadful transatlantic slave trade through which slaves were transported across the Atlantic into the new continent. The Church apologized for enslavement and oppression against black people.
“We are ready now to begin to make tangible investment in African-American people and communities as reparation for our history of slavery. But we can’t really do that and have it be meaningful unless, at the very beginning, we stop and take a moment and accept accountability,” Andrew Dietsche, the Episcopal Bishop of the Diocese of New York told the special service.
The Bishop said that African Americans had helped built churches all across America with their sweat and toil, but were still denied equality and fair access to the premises.
TonikaCustalow-Stuart, praise dancer told CBS: “It’s going to be a long time moving forward because you have to get a lot of people on board and it’s about cleaning up our hearts, I believe, and just to stand as one.”
Reverend Michael B. Curry, the first-ever African-American presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church recorded a video that was played at the service on Sunday.
“Now some might say that apology is not enough, and to be sure, by itself it’s not,” Curry said. “But you have been engaged in the work of unearthing our history, unearthing our story, telling stories that had not been told, telling of pain that has been borne sometimes in silence,” the Reverend said.