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Episcopal history journal examines race, slavery, and ministry in Britain’s sugar colonies, Rhode Island, and the US South in latest issue

1 Sep 2023 2:14 PM | HSEC Director of Operations (Administrator)

Anglican and Episcopal History (AEH) focuses on race, slavery, and ministry in three regions in its September issues. Scholars examine Anglican ministries in the context of Britain’s sugar colonies, Rhode Island, and the U.S. South. Readers also enjoy reviews of a film, exhibit, and 22 scholarly books.

The lead study, “Anglican Ministry Amongst Britain’s Caribbean Slaves,” by Stephen J.S. Smith examines the Church of England’s ministry in Britain’s slave-based sugar colonies throughout the long eighteenth century using case studies of clergymen James Ramsay (1733-1789), George Wilson Bridges (1788-1863), and William M. Harte (1776-1851).

Smith writes that, “For better, or for worse, the Church of England’s presence in Britain’s Caribbean slave colonies provided a framework for contrasting Anglican clergy voices… to throw light on the reality of established church ministry in Britain’s slave colonies. The value of these voices is immense.”

Smith is an Episcopal priest and retired research scholar in church history at SUNY Buffalo.

The second study is “Christ Church, Providence, 1839-1851: An African American Parish in Antebellum Rhode Island” by John D. Alexander, a retired Episcopal priest in the Diocese of Rhode Island.

Alexander writes that “Christ Church’s story affords a fascinating glimpse into antebellum New England’s social and religious history, as well as into the dilemmas confronting African Americans in the wider Episcopal Church.”

A final study related to race compares and contrasts ways three white Episcopal priests in the Antebellum South approached ministry among newly freed people following the U.S. Civil War. “The lives and ministries of Peter Fayssoux Stevens, A. Toomer Porter, and William Porcher DuBose illustrate the range of choices facing white ministers in the postwar church,” according to authors J. Michael Martinez and the late Loren B. Mead.

Martinez currently teaches political science at Kennesaw State University. Mead was an Episcopal priest and founder of the Alban Institute at Duke Divinity School. He passed away in 2018.

A final study offers a different theme focusing on women in West Africa. Sade Oluwakemi Ayendi, a field researcher for Institut Français de Recherche en Afrique, examines ways Anglican women in Nigeria “occupy significant position” and “have broken through traditional prejudices” in the Anglican Church of Nigeria’s Diocese of Akoko.

Ayendi’s study is titled, “Women in the Nigerian Church: A Study of the Akoko Anglican Diocese,” was partially funded by a grant from the Historical Society of the Episcopal Church.

AEH also features two church reviews providing glimpses of worship at St. John’s Episcopal Church in the Scottish Episcopal Church’s Diocese of Edinburgh and at St. James’ Anglican Church, Vancouver, part of the Diocese of New Westminster in the Anglican Church of Canada.

The September issue includes movie, exhibit, and book reviews related to church history and Anglican scholarship. Among them:

  • Ecumenical Encounters with Desmond Mpilo Tutu: Vision for Justice, Dignity, and Peace edited by Sarojini Nadar et al | Reviewed by Kefas Lamak, University of Iowa
  • Envoys of Abolition: British Naval Officers and the Campaign Against the Slave Trade in West Africa by Mary Wills | Reviewed by Suzanne Geissler, William Paterson University
  • Peter Akinola: Who Blinks First? Biblical Fidelity Against the Gay Agenda in the Global Anglican Communion by Gbenga Gbesen | Reviewed by John Rawlinson, Church Divinity School of the Pacific
  • The Shape of Anglican Theology: Faith Seeking Wisdom by Scott MacDougall | Reviewed by Mark D. Chapman, University of Oxford
  • Making Evangelical History: Faith, Scholarship and the Evangelical Past edited by Andrew Atherstone and David Ceri Jones | Reviewed by Christopher Corbin

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