Committees discuss Episcopal seminaries, theology schools incorporating anti-racism education into curricula

By Shireen Korkzan
Posted May 30, 2024

General Convention’s Racial Truth-Telling, Reckoning & Healing committees on May 29, 2024, discussed a proposed resolution to encourage Episcopal seminaries and theology schools to incorporate anti-racism education into their curricula. Photo: Screenshot

[Episcopal News Service] General Convention’s Racial Truth-Telling, Reckoning & Healing committees on May 29 discussed a proposed resolution to encourage Episcopal seminaries and theology schools to incorporate anti-racism education into their curricula.

Resolution A034, “Promoting Equitable Formation for Future Church Leaders through Dismantling Racism and Achieving Racial Justice and Healing Education in Seminaries and Schools of Theological Education,” calls on The Episcopal Church to “strongly urge” all Episcopal seminaries and theology schools to incorporate racial justice and healing education into their curricula within the next academic year. If implemented, seminaries and theology schools are encouraged to assess and review the efficacy of their anti-racism programs.

A034 also calls on the church to institute a certification mandate to enforce the dismantling of racism education. However, both committees voted in favor of the resolution without the certification language.

“I understand the impetus that we want to establish an equal level of floor height … but is this the best way to get at it? [The language has] six ‘urges’ and ‘encourages,’ and then a little bit of teeth in the seventh paragraph,” Atlanta Bishop Robert Wright told the 23 who signed up to attend the meeting. “To what extent can we mandate and institute a requirement for certification of seminaries? That’s a long, drawn-out process.”

New York Bishop Suffragan Allen Shin concurred. “I think it seems redundant to what is happening in the dioceses, and then the last section, requiring certification of seminaries … I don’t know how we’re going to do that,” he said.

After voting on A034, committee members and hearing observers separated into small breakout rooms to ask and answer questions about other proposed resolutions. They also discussed reviewing and adjusting the resolutions’ language before they’re finalized. The committees will vote on those resolutions during their next meeting, scheduled for May 30.

The House of Bishops’ and House of Deputies’ committees, which though distinct, typically meet and deliberate together. Once finalized, resolutions will advance to the 81st General Convention, to be held June 23-28 in Louisville, Kentucky. General Convention is the governing body of The Episcopal Church. Every three years it meets as a bicameral legislature dividing its authority between the House of Deputies and the House of Bishops and composed of members from each diocese.

-Shireen Korkzan is a reporter and assistant editor for Episcopal News Service based in northern Indiana. She can be reached at skorkzan@episcopalchurch.org.


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