Western North Carolina diocese brings back ‘Barrier Breakers’ series as monthly feature

Episcopal Diocese of Western North Carolina
Posted Aug 4, 2021

The Rev. Deacon Glenda McDowell was the first story featured. Deacon Glenda was the first woman of color ordained deacon in the Diocese of WNC.

The Episcopal Diocese of Western North Carolina is excited to share that they are bringing back their Barrier Breakers series, previously created for Black History Month 2021, as a monthly feature on their YouTube channel. The first episode of the return of the seriespremiered on August 4, 2021, and featured Glenda McDowell, the first woman of color to serve as a deacon in the Diocese of Western North Carolina.

Barrier Breakers was launched in February 2021 as a featured video series for Black History Month. The series aimed to amplify black voices and featured short interviews with five people of color in the Diocese of Western North Carolina. Those featured included; Forney “Skeet” Happoldt, the first child of color to attend the diocesan summer camp, Brianna Richardson, a young adult leader for campus ministry, Bill and Diane Mance, original members of the diocesan Commission to Dismantle Racism, and Pam Hemphill, a catalyst in beginning the conversation on building beloved community in the diocese.

The project received a positive response from the diocese and beyond. Many noted that the project was not only an opportunity to listen to the voices of people of color, but uncover histories in the region that help tell the story of how the diocese came to be. The project aligned with the ongoing mission of the Diocese of WNC to build Beloved Community and dismantle racism through acknowledgement and understanding of the history of this region and The Episcopal Church as a whole.

The series will return as a monthly feature, released on the first Wednesday of every month. One notable change in the return of the series is that it will no longer focus on solely black voices, but rather all voices of color in the Diocese of WNC, including Latino/Hispanic, Indigenous, and AAPI. The series will aim to share a wide variety of guests of different ages, locations, and backgrounds. Episodes will be released monthly and can be accessed on the Diocese WNC YouTube Channel or by following Diocese WNC on Facebook and Instagram.