Survival of the Archival
- Church Archives 101 – What to Keep and How to Keep It
Susan G. Rehkopf, Archivist and Registrar for the Episcopal Diocese of Missouri
Most of our churches have a wealth of historical documentation. Maybe someone many years ago had the foresight to save these important records and preserve them in a way that they have survived. And maybe the congregation is lucky and they have a parish archivist. But all too often records have disappeared over time. Maybe someone took old registers home. Maybe the legal documents went home with the senior warden for safe keeping. Maybe someone “housecleaned,” thinking they were being helpful. Maybe they’ve been stored in closets or basements and red rot runs riot. Maybe no one thought they were important. And then a member decides to write your church history. Maybe that’s the impetus to begin to gather congregational history. Whether your objective is to encourage congregations to establish archives or to provide a refresher course for congregations with established programs, this workshop will provide a basic procedure for volunteers to use to create or continue to build a church archive.
- Bringing Archives to Life: Sustaining Records of a Rural Parish
Edna Johnston, Principal and Founder of History Matters, LLC and History Matters’ Episcopal Project & Jessica Neubelt, Researcher and Preservation Planner, History Matters, LLC and Episcopal History Project
Too often, records of individual Episcopal churches are lost to fire, flood, and financial challenge. Those that survive often do so in obscurity, languishing unknown or unexplored. History Matters’ Episcopal Project helps reverse that fate by digitizing these records and ensuring their long-term stewardship and access. This workshop presents a model for churches and parishes to use to protect, digitize, publish and provide access to their records. It describes the Episcopal Project’s successful pilot with the three churches of Bath Parish, founded in 1727 in rural Dinwiddie County, Virginia. Through collaboration between the Episcopal Project, the vestry, the congregation, and the diocese, the parish and church records have been photographed, digitized, and e-published, and the originals (1826-2012) transferred to the Virginia Historical Society. The workshop will show how providing access to parish records opens windows into the lives of women, men, and children, enslaved and free, that can be found nowhere else; church archives bring to light people that are often invisible in written histories. If made readily accessible, the records of churches and parishes in the Episcopal Church, as demonstrated by Bath Parish, can help weave a richer tapestry of American life in the 18th to 20th centuries.
- Striving to Thrive: The Library and Archives of the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts
Lynn Smith, Registrar-Historiographer of the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts
Where there is no vision, the people perish. Proverbs 29:18a The Library and Archives are the archivists and records managers for the Diocese of Massachusetts and for independent, diocesan-affiliated organizations including The Trustees of Donations to the Protestant Episcopal Church, Church Home Society, and The Episcopal City Mission. The collections include historical, business and financial records of those organizations and the processed financial and cultural records of closed congregations. Learn how the Library and Archives strives to thrive through: • - the institution of professional standards for archives and records management • - staffing by professional archivists, librarians, and researchers • - university-sponsored mentoring programs for graduate students in archival studies • - processes and procedures both for digitizing collections and for archiving and preserving digitized documents and born-digital information • - series of workshops, meetings, and suggested research projects providing congregational historians with ways to effectively process and use the information in their archives • - initiation of partnerships with archivists and historians in a neighboring Episcopal diocese and with other denominations The Library and Archives holds the conviction that an honest understanding of our past is essential to a meaningful vision for our future.
Conflict Afoot in the Period of our New Republic
- From Anglicans to Episcopalians: Reconciliation in Post-Revolutionary Connecticut, 1783-1800.
Stephen P. McGrath, Adjunct Professor of History, Central Connecticut State University
The American Revolution in Connecticut posed formidable challenges to the Anglican Church. Churches had been destroyed; laity had flocked to the King’s service; clergy had been imprisoned or fled to Britain and Nova Scotia. Anglicans faced heightened hostility as they sought to transition from a colonial church dependent on the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel to an independent American church reliant on its own spiritual and financial resources. Clergy who returned to their parishes faced liturgical challenges and financial hardship in the War’s immediate aftermath, but even by the War’s end the Church had begun a rather surprising period of growth. Helped by the simmering hostility between Old Light and New Light Congregationalists, the Episcopal Church provided an orderly haven for those weary of the chaos of Congregationalism. Moreover, Episcopalians found themselves courted by both political factions, and provided a crucial weight in the political balance of power in the state. Paradoxically, the weakening of the Anglican Church in Revolutionary Connecticut proved temporary, as Episcopalian numerical resurgence and political gains augured for a brighter future in the new century.
- The Slaves of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts.
The Rev. Dr. Stephen J. S. Smith, Buffalo, NY
In 1710 the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts (SPGFP) inherited two Barbados sugar plantations and their three hundred slaves from the late Sir Christopher Codrington. In accordance with the terms of Codrington’s will the Society intended its plantations to be the site of a missionary college which would train its students as pastors and evangelists for Britain’s Caribbean slave population. The proposed college did not open its doors until 1830. My paper will address the factors underlying the failure of the SPGFP to succeed in its intended aims regarding the college for more than a century. These include the attitudes of Society directors, and in turn members of the Church of England hierarchy, towards slave ownership; the church’s establishment status; the lack of local diocesan structure throughout the British Caribbean until 1825; as well as the challenges of long distance slave plantation management by the Church of England’s preeminent missionary arm, especially in the light of Britain’s emerging anti-slavery movement which included the voices of evangelical Anglican luminaries.
- The Rev. Harry Croswell & the St. Luke’s Dilemma.
The Rev. Rowena Kemp, Grace Church, Hartford, CT & Margaret Smith, Archivist, Episcopal Church in Connecticut (ECCT)
As rector of Trinity Episcopal Church in New Haven, The Rev. Harry Croswell (1778-1858) sympathized with the African American members of his congregation in their quest to establish a church where they would not be treated as second-class citizens. Founded in 1840, a quarter century before the Emancipation Proclamation, St. Luke’s parish became the fourth “Black” Episcopal Church in the United States and a symbol of free worship. This discussion will examine Harry Croswell’s background and theological and social views on race, race relations in his relationship with the founders of St. Luke’s Church in New Haven.
- “God sees in the negro cabin:” Antebellum Episcopal Women as Emancipators.
Joan R. Gundersen, Ph.D., Archivist, Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh
While historians have noted that Ann Randolph Page and Mary Randolph Fitzhugh Custis were advocates for the American Colonization Society and freed many of their slaves, few have tied them to a larger network of Episcopal women with similar views who also freed their slaves. The paper will look at this larger network of Episcopal women, their beliefs, and how they sought reconciliation through emancipation of their slaves. The paper will make use of a recently compiled database of blacks who went to Liberia and their emancipators, manuscript material from the women’s writings and a variety of secondary materials.
Roiling Waters out of Reconstruction
- Peter Fassoux Stevens: A Challenge to His Day and Ours
The Rev. Dr. Francis H. Wade, adjunct faculty, Virginia Theological Seminary, Alexandria, VA.
Peter Stevens was a hero in the Confederate army and remains an icon for firing the first shots of the war on the relief ship bound for Ft Sumter in January 1861. That same year he was ordained in the Episcopal Church but later accepted a field command. Wounded at Antietam he returned to parish service. After the war The Diocese of South Carolina voted to welcome congregations of freedmen. Stevens took up the challenge of forming African American congregations and preparing men for ordination. In 1875 when the offer of the diocese was proven disingenuous Stevens renounced his orders and joined the Reformed Episcopal Church where he continued his ministry as a bishop. Today there are 22 predominantly African American Reformed Episcopal Church congregations in South Carolina, each one indebted to Peter Stevens. Stevens challenged his day to develop a deeper understanding of African Americans. He challenges our day to develop a deeper understanding of those who served the Confederacy
- A Reappraisal of the Works of the Freedman’s Commission Under the Rev. J. Brinton Smith, D.D.
The Rev. Dr. N. Brooks Graebner, Historiographer, Episcopal Diocese of North Carolina
The Protestant Episcopal Freedman’s Commission was created by General Convention in 1865 to direct the Church’s mission to the newly-emancipated slaves in the South, particularly in the establishing and staffing of schools. The Commission’s work during its 13-year existence is generally viewed as a failure, because contributions declined over time and its work was stymied by apathy in the North and resistance in the South. A different picture emerges, however, by looking more closely at how the Commission functioned under the leadership of the Rev. J. Brinton Smith, who served as “Secretary and General Agent” in the critical years of 1866-1867. Smith intentionally chose to concentrate resources on the establishment of St. Augustine’s School in Raleigh, North Carolina, and then left his post as general agent to assume personal leadership of St. Augustine’s, a position he held until his death in 1872. The result of Smith’s work was a remarkably successful effort at North-South/Black-White cooperation, which nurtured a cadre of distinguished black educators and clergy, and which has continued to the present.
- Anna Julia Cooper: A Black Feminist and the Colored Woman's Office After Reconstruction.
Charles Lemert, Ph.D., Senior Research Scholar, Yale University, New Haven, CT & Pastoral Associate for the Homeless, Trinity on the Green, New Haven.
Anna Julia Cooper's 1892 book, A Voice From the South, is a key text in Black feminist thought. Cooper (1858-1964) was a graduate of St. Augustine's College, the Episcopal college in Raleigh, North Carolina. She was born to an enslaved mother and a slave holding bio-father. She lived through the century from the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863 into the high-water days of the Civil Rights movement in 1963-1965. Cooper's A Voice From the South is the book that links Sojourner Truth's "Ain't I a Woman?" (a defiant challenge to a convention of white feminists in 1851) with Pauli Murray's life of activist challenges to the structural force of economic, racial, gender, and sexuality oppression. The key idea of A Voice From the South is that Black women of the South, being among the nation's most oppressed, were in a position of moral authority in a nation still suffering the effects of the failure of Reconstruction in 1877. Hence also the moral theory of the Colored Woman's Office, a concept that reflect's her life-long association with Anglican thought and practice.
- There Is A Balm in Gilead: Three Material Examples of the Anglican Church Offering Reconciliation for Enabling the Institution of Slavery
John Ander Runkle, RA, Sewanee, TN
At a time when the Episcopal Church, along with other institutions in the United States, is engaged in serious debate over its historic role in enabling the institution of slavery, attempts are being made to offer some sense of collective atonement and make amends for the wrongs the Church did or did not do over the past many years. One particular strategy currently causing much heated debate is the removal of names and symbolic references associated with the Confederate States of America from the building fabric of many Episcopal Churches. While strong moral arguments are made in favor of such actions, they also cause much animosity among those who value our collective history, warts and all. The end result seems to be that in the effort to reconcile itself with one group, the Church invites conflict with another. (cont. next page) This paper will examine three material examples within the history of the Anglican Church that acknowledge its willful participation in enslaving generations of African people and seek reconciliation in a constructive fashion.
Christ Church Cathedral, Zanzibar In 1879, the Church of England built a cathedral on the site of the last public slave market in Africa and positioned the high altar on the spot where a whipping post was used to demonstrate a slave’s resilience and worth.
St. John’s Episcopal Church, Ashwood, TN In 1842, this plantation church was built by enslaved people from the surrounding plantations. Four Bishops of the Diocese of TN are buried in the churchyard, along with many slaves and descendants of slaves, often in unmarked graves. In 2015, a monument was erected in the churchyard acknowledging and memorializing these enslaved people.
2016 Union of Black Episcopalians Annual Conference at Christ Church Cathedral in New Orleans, Louisiana The opening Eucharist commenced with an acknowledgment and confession of the sin of racism and Presiding Bishop Michael Curry, a descendent of slaves, re-consecrated the cathedra which was built by enslaved people under the first Diocesan bishop.
- William Huntington & the Chicago Quadrilateral: A Conviction for Anglican Ecumenism that Warrants a Theology of Racial Reconciliation.
Cecil “Ngoni” Tengatenga, M.A.R., Health Program Manager, City of Hartford, CT & Cultural Studies Essayist in the Diocese of the ECCT
Anglican ecumenism in America has made several historic attempts to appeal to racial reconciliation. Others, rightly so, bemoan the inadequacy of those efforts. Whereas, the Chicago Quadrilateral is integral to the reconciliatory tone of Anglican ecclesiology, the oft ignored sociopolitical context of its origins in Jim Crow America betrays its intent. It is no wonder then that omission resonates in the absence of a proportionate demographic representation of ethnic minorities in the Episcopal Church, as has been echoed in a recent report by the Pew Research Center. Black people constitute only 4% of the church’s polity, in contrast to 65% who are aging white baby boomers. This paper seeks to examine the Chicago Quadrilateral through the original essay, The Church-Ideal, An Essay Towards Unity, by Bishop William Huntington that preceded the 1886 General Convention and offer theological reflections on race relations within the Episcopal Church. This is a consequential discussion at this juncture as we consider the implication of the many debates the Anglican Communion finds itself in, from women’s ordination to the episcopate, same-sex marriage to evangelism. It is as difficult to regard dialogue on these issues without accounting for race—or, as this paper will argue, the unfinished work of racial reconciliation. How might a radical ecumenical compromise from the past empower 21 Century commitment to the cause of truly welcoming all Christians through baptism into the catholic church? In asserting baptism as a foundational sacrament shared across denominational lines without interrogating the underlying anthropological understanding of who counts as human, we risk marginalizing many. That is, perhaps, a legacy that we should like to address and begin with a seminal text in the life of Episcopal Church that lead to the Chicago Quadrilatera
Knowledge from Beyond North America
- Christian Internationalism or Genocide Denial? The Lausanne Treaty Controversy and the Episcopal Church, 1926-1927.
The Rev. Dr. Gardiner Shattuck, Jr., Warwick, RI
It is better that … American missionary and educational institutions in Turkey be closed than that the United States should fail to impress upon the Turkish government that we will not offer the hand of American friendship to a hand that is bathed in the blood of Christian martyrs. (Frederic C. Morehouse, April 1926
This paper will examine the now little-known controversy over a treaty, negotiated at Lausanne, Switzerland, in the summer of 1923, between the governments of the United States and the newly formed Republic of Turkey. Although signed by the American diplomat Joseph Grew and approved by President Calvin Coolidge, the Lausanne Treaty could not go into effect until ratified by the U.S. Senate – a requirement that launched a protracted national debate over America’s moral obligations to Christians living under Muslim control in Turkey and other parts of the Middle East. This bitter political quarrel extended into all segments of American society in the mid-1920s, and several major religious organizations, including the leadership of the Episcopal Church, were drawn prominently into the dispute. Among Episcopalians, the faction opposed to the treaty was led by Bishop William Manning of New York, who decried the document as a betrayal of the more than one million Armenians killed by orders of the Ottoman government during World War I. In Manning’s eyes, the establishment of diplomatic relations with a country “bathed in the blood of Christian martyrs” and denying its guilt in a genocidal assault against its own citizenry was affront to Christianity itself. The pro-treaty faction in the Episcopal Church, on the other hand, was led by Charles Henry Brent, then bishop of Western New York and one of the most distinguished religious figures of his generation, honored today in Holy Women, Holy Men. As a Christian internationalist Brent yearned for peace and reconciliation between the world’s nations after the horrors of the Great War. He also hoped that the normalization of relations between the United States and Turkey might ultimately lead to the conversion of the Middle East to Christianity – an evangelistic vision that would be unattainable if American missionaries were expelled and their properties confiscated by a rebuffed Turkish government. In the end, the controversy over the Lausanne Treaty was resolved on the basis of realpolitik, not Christian principles, and neither Manning nor Brent achieved the goals they sought. Nevertheless, as this paper will argue, the passionate debate among Episcopalians in the 1920s still raises intriguing historical questions about the feasibility of Christian reconciliation in the international sphere.
- Fostering Reconciliation through Liturgical Engagement with Indigenous People.
Howard Harris, Ph.D., University of South Australia, Adelaide, Australia & The Rt. Rev. Christopher McLeod, Assistant Bishop, Diocese of Adelaide, Australia
This paper discusses aspects of the reconciliation experience of the Anglican Church in Australia in the context of its potential relevance to the ongoing reconciliation effort of the Episcopal Church. It uses the example of the episcopal ordination of a bishop to work with Indigenous people as a case study, seeking to show how elements of Indigenous culture can be included so that they are more than formulaic, contribute to the Christian spiritual significance of the liturgy, and avoid being seen as paternalistic add-ons. It shows how liturgy can be an important aspect of reconciliation, and how art, music and engagement with Indigenous culture can be important aspects in advancing reconciliation. There is an implication for archival practice with regard to the collection and storage of materials beyond books and artefacts. Historians and archivists may have a role to play in not only recording the liturgical elements of reconciliation but also by providing a resource for those who seek to advance reconciliation through ritual and liturgy.
- Outward and Visible Signs of Reconciliation in Australian Church Vesture.
Patricia Stone, Ph.D. candidate, Centre for Art History and Art Theory, Australian National University, Canberra, Australia
Two major areas of reconciliation in Australia in the twentieth century post-colonial period are symbolised by a subject neglected by church historians: changes in the motifs on Eucharistic vestments. The more obvious is the gradual and ongoing reconciliation between indigenous and non-indigenous Australians, in contrast to the previously widely accepted policies of assimilation into white Anglo-Saxon society, which was official government and mission policy until the 1970s. More subtle, but pervasive and challenging for many older Anglicans, has been the change in national sentiment from loyalty to the British Empire pre-war to a sense of national pride and identity in the multi-cultural Australia of the post-colonial era. One aspect of this, at the time unsettling, was the development of an Australian Anglican liturgy. This paper explores the ways in which changes in the design of the vesture of the church have resulted from, and symbolise, these areas of reconciliation, providing a continuing visual witness to worshippers
Here and Now, Going Forward
- Power to the People, a Demand for Racial Justice in One Episcopal Congregation.
Nell Braxton Gibson, Board Member, Episcopal Urban Caucus, social activist & author, New York, NY
In 1969 when the Black Power Movement was visible and strong, the Young Lords were exerting the power of Puerto Rican Americans, the American Indian Movement (AIM) was flexing its muscles and members of the Weather Underground were standing up to their white parents. That same year a local congregation on the Lower East Side of New York City began to assess the values of its congregation and to notice a cultural insensitivity within the worshipping community. That was the origin of the Black and Brown Caucus at St. Mark’s Church in-the-Bowery. A young curate named David Garcia had been brought to St. Mark’s by its rector, Michael Allen, in an effort to reach out to members of the growing Puerto Rican community surrounding the church. Fr. Allen knew he could not ignore the Latino population and he hoped that by bringing in a Latino assistant the church could respond to the needs of Latinos in the neighborhood. During the summer of 1969 while the rector was on vacation with his family, the newly formed Caucus met on a weekly basis to determine how to confront white members of the congregation. This is the story of how black, brown and white members of the St. Mark’s congregation walked through the fire of discontent, anger and pain before coming to a place of apology, forgiveness, trust and reconciliation. And how together they built a strong, diverse and loving community that continues to thrive today nearly fifty years later.
- Wrestling with Racial Reconciliation: Bringing a Troubling Past into a Troubled Present.
Joanne Pope Melish, Ph.D., Associate Professor of History Emerita, University of Kentucky, and member of the Coordinating Committee of the Center for Reconciliation, Episcopal Diocese of Rhode Island
In 2006, the 75th General Convention of the Episcopal Church urged every Diocese to examine how its churches had been complicit in and benefited from the institution of slavery and its racial legacies. This paper will explore the genesis and ongoing efforts of the Center for Reconciliation in Providence, Rhode Island, a 2014 initiative of the Episcopal Diocese of Rhode Island to grapple with this poisonous history as an essential first step in the process of racial reconciliation. Rhode Island dominated the colonial American slave trade, and the rise of antebellum New England as an industrial powerhouse, through its burgeoning textile industry, was fueled by slave-grown cotton and the production of “Negro cloth” for plantation markets. Episcopal churches in the region benefited greatly from these developments. Whether consciously or not, white Episcopalians also have been complicit in the job discrimination, de facto segregation, “urban removal,” and other forms of structural racism that followed. The paper will briefly summarize this history and describe the successes and challenges of CFR’s efforts to offer programs within the Episcopal Church and for the public at large that examine this history, explore its connections to racism today, and facilitate inclusive dialog about race.
- Reconciliation: The Development of a Rite.
The Rev. Dr. John Rawlinson, retired priest of the Diocese of California, Oakland, CA.
One unique feature of the American Book of Common Prayer, 1979 is the inclusion liturgical forms of "The Reconciliation of a Penitent." During the preparation and testing of materials for that Book, some critics believed that many of the materials were created to imitate the rites of the Roman Catholic Church in the post-Vatican Council II era. This paper demonstrates that the rite in the 1979 Book is uniquely Episcopal in origin and nature, and that some of its particular roots date back to the 1950's. This rite of "reconciliation" contains echoes of the centuries-long historical practice of "confession." In some respects, it includes elements of that history; however, the intent and style of the rite embodies different attitudes. Its evolution illustrates a significant change from the historical practice.