By Kirk Petersen
Two more dioceses have committed funds for racial reconciliation or slavery reparations.
The Bishop of Georgia said 3% of the diocesan endowment, about $75,000 to $80,000, will help form a St. Anna Alexander Center for Racial Reconciliation & Healing.
Meanwhile, the Bishop of Long Island announced plans to start a reparations fund with about $500,000 from the sale of a church property. Long Island Bishop Larry Provenzano said income from the reparations fund “will be distributed in the form of scholarships and incentives to minority young adults seeking opportunity in education and business within the geography of our diocese.”
But Georgia Bishop Scott Anson Benhase said: “What we are beginning is not reparations. No amount of money can do that. What we are doing is committing significant resources to the long, slow work of racial reconciliation and healing.”
Benhase told TLC that he chose the 3% figure because much of the diocese’s fairly modest endowment is restricted for specific purposes, but there is a fund that can be used at the discretion of the bishop that contains about that much money.
The St. Anna Alexander Center is named for Anna Ellison Butler Alexander, who was born to formerly enslaved parents shortly after the Civil War, and served as an educator and church worker in the Diocese of Georgia throughout her career, ending with her death in 1974. She was the only African-American woman ever named a deaconess in the Episcopal Church. The order of deaconess was abolished in 1970, and deaconesses became deacons.