An Episcopal church in Maryland announced Monday that it had unanimously approved an initiative to donate $500,000 in slavery reparations over five years, according to a statement from the church.
The Memorial Episcopal Church donated $50,000 of its endowed wealth and another $50,000 from its 2021 operating budget as part of the Guy T. Hollyday Memorial Justice and Reparations Initiative. The funds will be invested in community partners who are doing “justice-centered work”, The Hill reported.
“As a faith community dedicated to social justice, we acknowledge how our history has shaped our present reality. This initiative is one more step toward repairing that harm,” said @revgrey Rector. https://t.co/g7DUBiX6Ks
— Memorial Episcopal (@MemorialBH) January 25, 2021
A statement from the church explains the pro-slavery origins of the parish and their reasoning for the initiative.
“While many believe that the ‘past is in the past,’ the current congregation of a church formed as a memorial to slave-owners acknowledges that as a parish, city and country we are not far removed from that past. In fact, the current congregation includes both Rev. Natalie Conway who discovered her ancestors were enslaved by the family of the founders, and Steve Howard, an indirect descendant of that same family,” the statement said. (RELATED: Biden Supports Slavery Reparations Study, Wants Immediate Action On ‘Institutional Racism’)
The church also stated that since 2017, it has focused on researching and studying the history of Memorial, which includes segregation, redlining, inequity in schools and disenfranchisement of black voters.
“As a faith community dedicated to social justice, we acknowledge how our history has shaped our present reality. This initiative is one more step toward repairing that harm,” said Rev. Grey Maggiano.