NEW YORK (1010 WINS) — The Episcopal Diocese of New York is planning on issuing a formal apology for the church’s role in American slavery and the transatlantic slave trade.
The “Service of Apology for Slavery” will take place at the Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine in Upper Manhattan on Saturday.
A years-long internal investigation into the Church’s role in slavery found individual parishes owned slaves and the Diocese of New York originally made most of its wealth through the shipping industry. In the context of the pre-abolition U.S., investment in shipping meant profiting from the human trafficking of kidnapped Africans.
Episcopalian national leadership declared slavery a sin in 2006 and called on churches to investigate their historical role in the institution.
In addition to the apology ceremony, the New York diocese plans on implementing a reparations program, though the exact details of what that could entail are still under discussion, Right Rev. Andrew M.L. Dietsche, the bishop of the New York diocese, told Gothamist .
In 2019, Dietsche asked the diocese to use $1.1 million as “seed money” for a reparations project.
So far, college scholarships, health care and housing have been raised as potential forms a reparations program could take.
The church also promised to address boundaries to professional and clerical advancement within the church for Black people.