Multiple studies and book reviews in the autumn 2020 issue of Anglican and Episcopal History (AEH) scrutinize legacies of racism and colonialism in churches. Two studies address changing historiography and practices influenced by decolonization.
“Historical Revision in Church: Re-examining the ‘Saint’ Edward Colston” investigates the legacy of a philanthropist, enslaver, and High Anglican who lived from 1636 to 1721. The study by Samuel J. Richards, a teacher at Shanghai American School in China, evaluates the role played by the Church of England in the development of the “cult of Colston” while describing actions at Bristol Cathedral starting in the early 2000s as “…part of a larger global pattern of historical revision and penance occurring in predominately white Christian communities coming to terms with complicity in the horrors of racism and slavery.”
Cn. Alan L. Hayes of Wycliffe College in the University of Toronto then examines “The Elusive Goal” of indigenous self-determination in the Anglican Church of Canada between 1967 and 2020. He argues “…colonial assumptions and structures have proven tenacious, and that, although Indigenous self-determination is consistent with historical patterns of Christian mission and organization, the theological, constitutional, and financial obstacles to decolonization have defied solution.” Hayes also explores models that could better promote indigenous self-determination within the Anglican Church of Canada.
In the final study, Jesse J. Lee, a doctoral candidate at Florida State University, invites readers to consider ways the Episcopal Church strived to maintain social unity amid great theological diversity and difference between Anglo-Catholics and lower-church Episcopalians in “The Contentious Conferences of 1924: A Study of the Proceedings of the Anglo-Catholic Priests’ Convention and the Thirty-Eighth Episcopal Church Congress.”
Book review editor Sheryl A. Kujawa-Holbrook then sets the tone for a series of reviews focused primarily on studies of black identity, racism, and slavery in the Atlantic World. Kujawa-Holbrook examines Breaking White Supremacy: Martin Luther King Jr. and the Black Social Gospel by Gary Dorrien. Other reviews include Christian Slavery: Conversion and Race in the Protestant Atlantic World by Katherine Gerbner, The Black Republic: African Americans and the Fate of Haiti by Brandon R. Byrd, Leonidas Polk: Warrior Bishop of the Confederacy by Huston Horn, Surviving Slavery in the British Caribbean by Randy M. Browne, and The Other Slavery: The Uncovered Story of Indian Enslavement in America. Among other topics, reviewers consider ways museums address religious history and Christian history, practice, and theology in Asia.
In addition to these studies and book reviews, church review editor J. Barrington Bates continues a series begun in the summer issue that examines ways congregations are adapting during the COVID-19 pandemic. The second review in the series takes readers to St. Alban’s Episcopal Church in Waco, part of the Diocese of Texas.
These articles and other book reviews in the autumn issue are available to members of the Historical Society of the Episcopal Church and later available via JSTOR.org and other online services.
About Anglican and Episcopal History
Anglican and Episcopal History (ISSN 0896-8039), formerly The Historical Magazine of the Protestant Episcopal Church, seeks to raise the level of discussion, provide a forum for exchange of ideas, and review books of real worth and of interest to educated Anglicans. It is published quarterly in March, June, September, and December. Full text articles are available through JSTOR.org and for members of the Historical Society of the Episcopal Church at https://hsec.us/AEH.
About the Historical Society of the Episcopal Church
The Historical Society of the Episcopal Church (HSEC) is an association of people and entities dedicated to the preservation and dissemination of information on the history the Episcopal Church and its antecedents. Anyone who has an interest in the objectives of HSEC is invited to visit: https://hsec.us/membership.