Maryland Episcopal Church buildings pledge to make reparations for $ 500,000 to $ 785

(RNS) – A historic episcopal church in Baltimore has pledged $ 100,000 in reparations, an initiative that will help promote local causes of racial justice.

Memorial Episcopal Church also pledged to provide an additional US $ 400,000 in reparation and justice over a five-year period.

“Unfortunately, our church has a long history of supporting racial segregation until 1969.
to be active participants, ”said Rev. Gray Maggiano, rector of the Church, founded in 1860, on Tuesday, January 26th.

“So we’ve identified some key areas where we need to make special corrections and atone.”

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The Rev. Gray Maggiano. Courtesy photo

The Church’s action is in response to the approval of a “seed fund for reparations” by the Diocese of Maryland in September.

The resolution, passed with 82.5% approval at the Diocesan Convention, also encouraged churches and schools in the diocese to “prayerfully consider allocating a percentage of their endowments or other resources to this fund”.

Maggiano said his church, which is predominantly white and made up of African Americans who make up about 15% of their congregation, intends to focus on education, housing, environmental justice, and community engagement.

The program in Memorial and throughout the diocese aims to show responsibility for the history of racial discrimination of the denominational as well as for the use of slaves. Maggiano quoted a former rector of Memorial as “loudly” advocating a constitutional change that would remove voting rights for African Americans. In the sacristy or on the board of directors of the church there was once the president of a “protection organization” of the community that wanted to prevent black people from living in the vicinity of the church.

In the aftermath of the 1968 assassination of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., which rocked Baltimore as well as other cities with large black populations, the Church hired a pastor who began welcoming African Americans.

Memorial Episcopal, which attended an average of 110 people on Sunday prior to the pandemic, takes half of the $ 100,000 from its endowment – just over 10% of that fund – and half from its annual operating budget. A portion of the $ 100,000 will go to the Diocesan Fund, and the rest will support black-run organizations and local efforts focused on judicial issues at the election of the Church.

Memorial Episcopal Church in Baltimore.  Photo by Eli Pousson / Creative Commons

Memorial Episcopal Church in Baltimore. Photo by Eli Pousson / Creative Commons

At least one other community has made financial commitments to support the Reparations Fund of the Episcopal Diocese of Maryland.

St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Annapolis, a parish that had an average of 45 visitors before the pandemic and has no foundation, will bring $ 785 – or half of 1% of its 2021 operating budget – to the diocese’s fund.

Rev. Diana Carroll, rector of the church in the Eastport neighborhood of Maryland’s capital, said the mostly white civil church beyond the budget is asking members to consider making additional donations over Palm Sunday.

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The Rev. Diana Carroll.  Courtesy photo

The Rev. Diana Carroll. Courtesy photo

“We will spend Lent specifically focusing on issues of racial justice from different angles. We are therefore very aware that money repairs are only part of this work,” she said Tuesday. “We are also committed to self-education and are looking into what kind of community partnerships we could enter into to continue working for racial justice in our community.”

A month after the diocese approved the $ 1 million fund, Bishop Eugene Sutton said $ 100,000 had been received, “and we’re not even in a fundraiser yet.”

Diocese spokeswoman Carrie Graves said Tuesday that donations continue to come in even as a fund oversight committee determines how the money will be used.

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