Reparations at St. Michael’s
The Context for Reparations at St. Michael’s
Founded in 1807 by wealthy families, some of whom owned slaves, St. Michael’s Church grew over its first century from a small rural parish into an influential institutional urban church. St. Michael’s prosperity emerged in a society whose economic structure depended on slavery and, after the Civil War, on racist inhumanity and exploitation. In its second century, St. Michael’s explicitly preserved slavery’s legacies – the cruelties of segregation and disenfranchisement – in the maintenance of a segregated mission-chapel, St. Jude’s Chapel, and in subsequent patterns of spiritual exclusion. Though St. Michael’s Church has made progress recently in confronting social injustices and in offering inclusive welcome, it has only just begun a deep discernment of its own complicity in slavery’s legacies and in racism. Begun in 2019, the work of the Reparations Committee unfolds from deep discernment processes.
St. Michael’s Church
St. Jude’s Chapel
St. Michael’s Reparations Mission Statement
Honoring that part of the Baptismal Covenant in which we promise “to strive for justice and peace among all people, and respect the dignity of every human being,” St. Michael’s Church commits every effort possible to repair the sin of slavery and its legacies in our church. Our reparations commitments extend beyond allocation of financial resources for new programs and include continued discernment about our church community’s spiritual purpose and identity.
Two Years of Congregational Reparations Work
April 23, 2022
Commemoration of Black inventor Granville T. Woods at St. Michael’s Cemetery.
Read a Queens Gazette article about Woods by St. Michael’s parishioner John Stickney
October 24, 2021
Celebration of the 100th Anniversary of the Consecration of St. Jude’s Chapel: Park West Village St. Jude’s Chapel Stone Blessing, Holy Eucharist and Festivities
Watch the service here.
May 16, 2021
“Slave Song: Lost and Found” forum presented by John Cantrell, St. Michael’s Choirmaster and Organist
“How To Be an Antiracist” by Ibram X. Kendi book group discussion sponsored by EDNY Antiracism Committee
“Knee on My Neck” series sponsored by EDNY Antiracism Committee
Spring and Summer 2020
Five book groups for historical study and discussion; books chosen by Reparations Committee
“Slavery in the Episcopal Diocese of New York” and “Slavery at St. Michael’s Church” forums presented by Jeannie Terepka, St. Michael’s Church Archivist
October 17, 2021
“St. Jude’s Chapel: Spiritual Leadership in the Episcopal Diocese of New York” public forum presented by Jeannie Terepka, St. Michael’s Church Archivist
Watch the presentation here.
Lent and Eastertide 2021
“Towards Recognizing and Repairing Racist Damage: A Roadmap Toward Healing,” six-session series developed for St. Michael’s Church and led by EDNY Apology Retreat team leaders, the Rev. Masud Ibn Syedullah and the Rev. Chuck Kramer
Summer and Fall 2020
“Sacred Ground,” a faith-based dialogue series on race developed by Episcopal Church; seven discussion groups at St. Michael’s
Learn more about reparations
Our Reparations Committee
Ned Boyajian, Gregory Bryant, Carole O’Connor Edwards, Rev. Julie Hoplamazian, Jeff Jeffreys, Meg Parsons (not pictured), Juanita Pratt, Jean Ballard Terepka
(pictured with the Rev. Canon Terence A. Lee)