Seal of the Historical Society of the Episcopal ChurchHistorical Society
of the Episcopal Church


  • 1 Aug 2023 10:26 AM | HSEC Director of Operations (Administrator)

    And Moses said to the people, ‘Remember this day, on which you went free from Egypt, the house of bondage, how the Lord freed you from it with a mighty hand…. Exodus 13:3 (JPS)

    The people…they got lost. They don’t even know the story of how they got from tit to tat…The people need to know the story.  See how they fit into it.  See what part they play.”  Stool Pigeon, Prologue, King Hedley II, 1999.

    On October 11, 2023, as the Virginia Theological Seminary (VTS) commemorates its Bicentenary, the African American Episcopal Historical Collection (AAEHC) will celebrate its 20th Year, with keynote speakers and symposia that focus on the importance of knowing the challenging and complex history of Blacks in the Episcopal Church.  The AAEHC will stop and Remember this major journey to Freedom and the part African Americans played in it. 

    The AAEHC, along with the Archives of the Episcopal Church. is the primary repository for records that document the history of Black Episcopalians, and it is the principal archival resource for scholars and researchers interested in the history of African American Episcopalians. Inspired and reinvigorated by the Scriptural exhortations to “Remember,” we will feed those memories only through which can we truly know who we are, and how redemption of a people and racial reconciliation in the Church were (and are to be) paid for. August Wilson’s Stool Pigeon is right: know and tell how we got from tit to tat. Bear Witness.

    The keynote address in the morning will be delivered by Julieanna Richardson, the founder and director of The HistoryMakers, the nation’s largest and most comprehensive oral history archive -- now fully accessioned by and housed in the Library of Congress.  Richardson’s HistoryMakers sets the gold standard for collecting oral histories and the AAEHC emulates its techniques and much its archival policies and objectives. The evening address will be delivered by the Rt. Rev. Gail Harris, assisting bishop for the Diocese of Virginia.  In between there will be presenters who will share their wisdom and experience in having achieved, and who are working still to achieve, success in their historical research on Black Episcopalians.

    African American Episcopalians comprise a fairly small percentage of communicants in the Episcopal Church.  The influence of that relatively few, including bishops Dillard Brown, Walter Decoster Dennis, and Arthur Williams, along with canon Thomas W. Logan, Sr., scholar Harold Lewis, and lay theologian Verna Dozier, is disproportionate to the enormity of their efforts to make the Church more inclusive.  Records of their lives, along with many more, are housed in the AAEHC, where they will be held in perpetuity and fully accessible to researchers.

    The AAEHC had its beginnings in the 1990s when a group of historians from the Historical Society of the Episcopal Church (HSEC) set out with special effort and intention to document the history of African Americans in the Episcopal Church. In 2003 the HSEC and the Bishop Payne Library of the Virginia Theological Seminary (VTS) agreed on a plan that would set the archival effort on solid footing at VTS.  The AAEHC is governed by a Steering Committee, the leaders, and members of which are shared equally between the Bishop Payne Library and the HSEC.  Over the first two decades of its existence the AAEHC has ably expanded the scope of the library’s mission to tell the Bishop Payne Divinity School (BPDS) story and to document the history of African American Episcopalians for research and for the education of the Church at-large.

    Now, twenty-years after the partnership began the collection continues to grow -- a recognition of its central place both as a repository of records, but also as an essential source for research and study. Its oral history collection is expanding greatly and because of ZOOM technology the most recent recorded sessions are now fully accessible online in video format.  Scholars visit the AAEHC regularly, seeking both institutional and personal papers.  Furthermore, over the course of its life, the AAEHC has awarded travel grants to over 20 scholars.  Their research has generated books, journal articles, dissertations, and online resources. This year, as part of that total (and after a COVID pandemic hiatus), five grants were awarded. We have selected a few whose research will be discussed on October Anniversary Day.

    The AAEHC has also been enriched greatly by unexpected and most welcome inquiries and donations of records from parish churches -- primarily white majority congregations -- that have begun to unearth their race histories.  Most of the stories are from the South (but by no means exclusively so) and begin in the pre-Civil War years when the enslaved worshipped in the same church as the persons who enslaved them.  Freedom and Reconstruction had in most cases existential and fundamental effects on the continued lives and racial identities of the parishes -- most of which quickly evolved to become racially segregated.  Often the result was the establishment of Black Episcopal parishes throughout the nation. And in most cases the segregation that meant the absence of Black worshippers in white spaces, remained unexamined until recently.  The salutary result is that much of this individual parish research and archival work has become essential to understanding and reaching for what the church needs in seeking the all-elusive racial reckoning and reconciliation.  Several of these parish historians will be present on our October Anniversary Day to share the results of their research and the accompanying myriad challenges.

    To learn more about attending the celebration on October 11, contact the AAEHC staff at

  • 31 Jul 2023 10:36 AM | HSEC Director of Operations (Administrator)

    The proposed volume will consist of a series of essays, each by an individual scholar or a small (not more than three) number of co-authors, focusing on a particular geographic region or island / country.

    While each essay will have its own focus, the volume as a whole will need to approach Anglican Studies as an interdisciplinary field, including Anglican history, theology, liturgy, preaching, postcolonial studies, ecclesiology, spirituality, literature, missiology, ethics/moral theology, ministry, pastoral care, ecumenism, and interreligious studies. Not all of these areas need be considered in a single essay. Rather, authors are encouraged to select particular aspects of the whole that best suit the specific focus of their proposal. But in all cases some consideration must be given to the history of the Church of England / Anglican Church in the locale under discussion, whether as a distinct section or as a framing device. Essays that also consider the current position of that locale’s Anglican Church within a broader contemporary framework are most welcome.

    The editor is interested in essays that consider Barbados and Jamaica, specifically, each as a single subject. Other essays might consider individual islands or groupings.

    Essays on the Church of England / Anglican Church in the Spanish, French, and Dutch Caribbean are also welcome.

    Please submit proposals of no more than 500 words and, if possible, provide a tentative title and a two- to three-sentence summary of the proposed work. The title and summary need not be part of the 500-word count. A target word count for the finished essay would also be appreciated.

    Graduate students and recent graduates are particularly encouraged to submit a proposal. Authors working in, or with strong ties to, the place of their topic are also encouraged and should make note of their connections in the email accompanying the submission.

    If a proposal can be developed for the interested publisher, style guides, deadlines, etc. will be disseminated at that stage.

    Please submit a proposal to Chris Fauske via Plain text or a Word attachment / link are both acceptable.

    The deadline for submission of a proposal is 30 November 2023.

    If you know someone who might be interested in this project, please share this CFP with them.

  • 26 Jul 2023 6:57 PM | HSEC Director of Operations (Administrator)

    Heidi Olson CampbellThe Historical Society of the Episcopal Church announces Heidi Olson Campbell as recipient of the 2023 Nelson R. Burr Prize. Olson Campbell is a PhD candidate at Baylor University in Waco, Texas. She is honored for the article ‘Of Blessed Memory’: The Recasting of Elizabeth I as England’s Protestant Patron Saint, 1603-1645, published in the Winter 2022 issue of Anglican and Episcopal History (Volume 91, No. 4).

    Olson Campbell’s dissertation titled "Women at the Cross” focuses on the impact of politics on the representation of female exemplars in Paul’s Cross’s sermons in sixteenth and early seventeenth century England. She recently received the Charles Perry Graduate Student Paper Award at the Southern Conference on British Studies. In addition to her article in Anglican and Episcopal History, her writing has appeared in the Journal of British Studies and Renaissance and Reformation.

    The Burr prize honors the renowned scholar Nelson R. Burr, whose two-volume A Critical Bibliography of Religion in America (1961) and other works constitute landmarks in the field of religious historiography. A committee of the Historical Society determines an author of the most outstanding article in the quarterly, peer-reviewed journal. The award recognizes that which best exemplifies excellence and innovative scholarship in the field of Anglican and Episcopal history.

    Copies of this article, as well as those by previous recipients, may be found at or a printed copy may be secured by contacting Matthew. P. Payne, Director of Operations of the Society at or (920) 383-1910.

  • 26 Jul 2023 6:30 PM | HSEC Director of Operations (Administrator)

    GrantsThe Historical Society of the Episcopal Church announced the awarding of over $24,000 in grants to 12 recipients during the Annual Meeting July 26, 2023. These funds support significant research, publication and projects related to preserving and sharing the history of the Episcopal Church and churches of the Anglican Communion. Over $350,000 of grants have been awarded since the inception of the program in 1988.

    Applications are considered by a Grants and Research Committee then awarded by the Board of Directors. Grants were made from budgeted funds and from the Cragon Fund for Special Projects. Recipients are encouraged to share their research and projects, especially in the peer-reviewed, quarterly journal of the Society, Anglican and Episcopal History. Details about the grants program may be found at

    Recipients with their areas of awarded research are:

    ·        Aaron Pelot – doctoral student at St. Mary’s College, University of St. Andrews. Studying the inculturation of the Book of Common Prayer in the Anglican Church in Japan.

    ·        Angelica Duran – professor at Purdue University, and Katie Calloway, professor at Baylor University. Offsetting the cost of reproducing visual art in their forthcoming study on the influence of John Bunyan.

    ·        Brian Hanson – professor at Bethlehem College and Seminary. Studying pastoral care and church discipline in the early modern Church of England.

    ·        Charles Egleston – independent scholar. Studying the history of African American Episcopalians in South Carolina between the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

    ·        Jon Thompson – postdoctoral research associate at St. Edmund’s College, Cambridge, and Jacob Conrod, an undergraduate at William & Mary. Studying the spiritual history and influence of William and Mary.

    ·        Kefas Lamak – doctoral student in Religious Studies at the University of Iowa. Studying religion, colonialism, and missions in the Niger area, c. 1860-1920.

    ·        Marianna Klaiman – independent scholar. Studying vestments and ecclesiastical textiles in dioceses of New York and Long Island.

    ·        Stephanie Derrick – independent scholar. Studying the influence of Episcopalian women on religious publishing in the United States.

    ·        Philadelphia Eleven – a documentary film project about the ordination of women in the Episcopal Church. Awarded from the Cragon Fund for Special Projects.

    ·        The Living Church –continued digitization of back issues of TLC. Awarded from the Cragon Fund for Special Projects.

  • 26 Jul 2023 6:00 PM | HSEC Director of Operations (Administrator)

    2023 HSEC Annual MeetingOver 50 members attended the Annual Meeting of the Historical Society of the Episcopal Church on July 26, 2023 via Zoom. The meeting elected members and officers to the Board of Directors and included reports on Society activities over the past year. Time was allowed for members to share announcements, thoughts and ideas for the good of the order.

    Dr. J. Michael Utzinger, President, chaired the meeting. He reported on activity from his first year as President, including meeting with leadership from other religious historical societies.

    Additional reports included the awarding of grants to twelve recipients, the status of the Historical Society’s peer-reviewed, quarterly journal, Anglican and Episcopal History, the recipient of the Burr Prize for the best article in the journal, a financial report reflecting strength, and announcements of upcoming events including the 20th anniversary of the African American Episcopal Historical Collection and the 2025 Tri-History Conference.

    The following officers were elected: President: Dr. J. Michael Utzinger; First Vice President: the Rev. John Runkle; Second Vice President: the Rev. Dr. Robyn Neville; Secretary: Susan Stonesifer; Treasurer: Mr. George DeFilippi.

    The following were elected to the Board of Directors: The Rev. Qiana Johnson, Dr. Jonathan Lofft and Dr. Hannah Matis.

    Members of the Historical Society are able to view the recording of the Annual Meeting at

  • 8 Jul 2023 5:27 PM | HSEC Director of Operations (Administrator)

    The Digital Assets page of the Historical Society of the Episcopal Church has added four new resources to promote the preservation of the history of the Episcopal Church. Each is available at

    "A New Era in Engaged Anglican & Episcopal History: Memory, Legacy & Embodied Practice," the 2023 Manross Lecture by the Rev. Dr. Sheryl Kujawa Holbrook, details a shift in the way we understand and explain Episcopal Church History. The 45-minute lecture is available in video and as a downloadable PDF.

    "A Sermon on Place and God," was preached by the Rev. John A. Runkle at the Holy Eucharist during the 2023 meeting of the Board of Directors. This 15-minute video reflects on the way that place, especially worship space, can help us to better connect with God.

    "The Person of James DeKoven," was presented prior to the 2023 Manross Lecture which was held at The DeKoven Center in Racine, Wisconsin. John Magerus, PhD and biographer of DeKoven, shares how DeKoven interacted with the students of Racine College.

    The Digital Assets page of the Historical Society is a curated page of digital materials that may assist those with interest in Episcopal Church history. If you are aware of any digital assets that may enhance the page, please contact the Director of Operations, Matthew P. Payne at

  • 1 Jun 2023 7:28 PM | HSEC Director of Operations (Administrator)

    Prayer Book Revision is the focus of the latest issue of Anglican and Episcopal History, the quarterly, peer-reviewed journal of the Historical Society of the Episcopal Church.

    Readers can enjoy 5 peer-reviewed essays, 2 church reviews, and 22 book reviews. The June issue of AEH is also the first to include “Engaged History,” a new feature examining ways Anglican and Episcopal communities are encountering once buried history.

    Prayer book studies include:

    •  “Remembering Our Baptism: Memoir of a Continuing Project” by William H. Petersen. The emeritus dean of Bexley Hall Seminary examines the “sea-change” related to the liturgy and theology of Baptism that occurred between 1949 and 1979 while pondering ways lessons learned during earlier eras of liturgical renewal might influence work today.
    • Sylvia A. Sweeney, contributing editor of this issue is also professor of liturgics and homiletics at Bloy House in Los Angeles. She explores the understudied role of second wave feminism during development and ratification of the 1979 Book of Common Prayer in an essay titled “The Role of the 20th Century Women’s Movement in Liturgical Renewal in the Episcopal Church.”
    • Juan M.C. Oliver, Custodian of the Book of Common Prayer between 2015 and 2022, outlines challenges Anglicans face and suggests standards to consider when translating liturgical materials in “Liturgical Translations in the Episcopal Church.”
    • “The History of Liturgical Revision in the Church of England and Its Implications for The Episcopal Church” by Shawn Strout, assistant professor of worship and associate dean of chapel at Virginia Theological Seminary, contextualizes ways proposed changes to redefine the prayer book in Article X of the Constitution of the Episcopal Church mirrors earlier moves in the Church of England.
    • The final study offers 8 guiding principles to counter anti-Judaism in liturgy and worship. The essay titled “Talking About Jews: Principles, Problems, and Proposals for Prayer Book Revision” is written by Daniel Joslyn-Siemiatkoski, an Episcopal priest and the Kraft Family Professor and Director of the Center for Christian-Jewish Learning at Boston College.

    In addition to these 5 peer-reviewed essays, church reviews take readers to a Sunday worship service at St. Paul’s, Clifton, in the Church of England’s Diocese of Bristol and to an ecumenical retreat of Lutherans, Anglicans, and Roman Catholics in northern Michigan.

    This issue of AEH launches the journal’s new “engaged history” feature. Engaged History refers to collaborative projects undertaken by Anglican and Episcopal institutions that confront buried historical narratives. Robert Black illustrates ways St. Luke’s Episcopal Parish in Salisbury, North Carolina, has engaged with the legacy of race and racism as a barrier to Christian mission. This includes commissioning a new Pentecost icon to better illustrate the Beloved Community “…as it includes people of different shapes, sizes, ages, genders, races, and abilities all gathered around a table and receiving the gift of the Spirit.”

    As always, readers enjoy a treasure trove of book reviews related to church history and Anglican scholarship, including:

    • Privilege and Prophecy: Social Activism in the Post War Episcopal Church by Robert Tobin | Reviewed by John L. Kater of Church Divinity School of the Pacific
    • The Book of Common Prayer: A Guide by Charles Hefling | Reviewed by Sean Otto of the Anglican Diocese of Quebec
    • Mother Earth, Postcolonial and Liberation Theologies edited by Sophia Chirongoma and Esther Mombo | Reviewed by Carla E. Roland Guzmán of General Theological Seminary
    • Iris Murdoch and Others: A Writer in Dialogue with Theology by Paul S. Fiddes | Reviewed by Molly James of The Episcopal Church Center

    Anglican and Episcopal History is published quarterly in March, June, September, and December. Full text articles are available through and for members of the Historical Society of the Episcopal Church at

  • 27 Apr 2023 6:09 PM | HSEC Director of Operations (Administrator)

    The Rev. John Rawlinson, Ph.D., Archivist of the Church Divinity School of the Pacific with 20 years as Archivist of the Diocese of California, offered a free opportunity to learn about organizing and maintaining archives. Sessions via Zoom had contents applicable to congregational and diocesan records. Sessions were recorded for 5 Thursdays starting May 11. To view any of these sessions, click here.

  • 1 Mar 2023 2:39 PM | HSEC Director of Operations (Administrator)

    Anglican and Episcopal History CoverAnglican and Episcopal History (AEH) considers the ministry of two deaconesses, the first five Black women ordained as Episcopal priests, and Tudor Dynasty confusion in the March 2023 issue. Readers also enjoy two church reviews and 22 book reviews.

    Two studies call attention to largely overlooked and poorly documented ministries of deaconesses.

    In the first, Joan R. Gundersen examines the life’s work of Deaconess Ruth Byllesby (1865-1959) whose ministry included the dioceses of Pittsburgh, Georgia, Michigan, Wyoming, and Vermont.

    Gundersen, former archivist in the Diocese of Pittsburgh, notes “the training deaconesses received made them pioneers in the field of social work.” Her essay is titled “In Plain Sight, and Yet Visible: The Ministry of Deaconess Ruth Byllesby”

    Readers then learn about the 37-year ministry of Deaconess Emma Britt Drant (d. 1932) in the dioceses of Southern Ohio, Hawaii, and California. Drant’s ministry included the Chinese diaspora in both Hawaii and California as well as work among victims of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake and fire.

    Retired priest John Rawlinson describes Drant as typical in being impoverished but “unique in pursuing most of her ministries without being closely supervised by a male priest.” His essay is titled “‘I… have $100 for my burial’: Deaconess Emma Britt Drant”

    Qiana M. Johnson then examines the unique gifts and experiences of the first five Black women ordained as priests in the Episcopal Church—Pauli Murray, Mary Adebonojo, Barbara C. Harris, Sandye Wilson, and Gayle Harris—describing “a common thread in the lives of these women was work around civil rights and social justice.”

    Deacon Johnson, assoc. dean of libraries at Dartmouth College, calls for further research regarding power with consideration for “what happens when authority is invested in people society has long held as being unworthy of authority, especially Black women.” Johnson’s essay is titled “Being First Two Times Over: The First Five Black Women Episcopal Priests”

    John L. Kater takes readers to England during the Tudor Dynasty. He contends far-reaching Tudor Dynasty changes in the Church of England were not a “revolution” akin to reformed churches on the European continent. Kater points to the continuation of episcopacy; little structural change to organization of parishes, dioceses, and provinces; and basic rhythm of church life as remaining intact as examples. However, he notes “the theological understanding of many of the church’s services changed”

    Kater is professor emeritus at the Church Divinity School of the Pacific and assoc. professor at Ming Hua Theological College in Hong Kong, China. His essay is “Ministry and the Tudors: Change, Confusion, and Continuity.”

    AEH also features two church reviews providing glimpses of Easter services at St. Aidan’s Episcopal Church in Bolinas, part of the Episcopal Diocese of California, and at Rockefeller Memorial Chapel at the University of Chicago.

    The March issue also includes 22 book reviews related to church history and Anglican scholarship. Among them:

    • Walking Together: Global Anglican Perspectives on Reconciliation edited by Muthuraj Swamy and Stephen Specer | Reviewed by Carla E. Roland Guzmán of General Theological Seminary
    • Royalist, Religion, and Revolution: Wales 1640-1688 by Sarah Ward Clavier | Reviewed by William Gibson of Oxford Brookes University
    • A Century of Praise: The Monastic Chapel of Saint Augustine edited by Josép Martinez-Cubero et al. | Reviewed by Matthew F. Reese of the Johns Hopkins University
    • “For the Good of Their Souls”: Performing Christianity in Eighteenth-Century Mohawk Country by William B. Hart | Reviewed by Harvey Hill of St. David’s Episcopal Church in Agawam, Mass.
    • Christianity in Central Tanzania, A Story of African Encounters and Initiatives in Ugogo and Ukaguru, 1876-1933 by Mwita Akiri | Reviewed by John Rawlinson
  • 21 Feb 2023 1:32 PM | HSEC Director of Operations (Administrator)

    Travel reimbursement grants are available to individuals who would like to use the African American Episcopal Historical Collection (AAEHC) for research. Faculty, graduate students, undergraduates, independent researchers, and Episcopal clergy and laypersons are encouraged to apply. Funds may be used for transportation, meals, lodging, photocopying, and other research costs.

    The application deadline is April 14, 2023. Travel must occur between August 1, 2023 and June 30, 2024.

    The AAEHC is a joint project of the Historical Society of the Episcopal Church and the Virginia Theological Seminary. Through documents, institutional records, oral histories, personal papers, and photographs, the collection documents the experiences of African American Episcopalians. Individual collections contain significant references to religious faith and involvement in the Episcopal Church, particularly at the regional, diocesan, and local levels.

    The following list details some of the topics that are among the collection’s strengths:

    • The Afro-Anglican conferences
    • The histories of black Episcopal parishes
    • Networking and mentorship among black clergy
    • The history of the Union of Black Episcopalians
    • The history of the Conference of Church Workers Among Colored People
    • The history of the Bishop Payne Divinity School that educated African Americans for the priesthood during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries
    • The editing of the Lift Every Voice and Sing hymnal
    • The work of artist Allan Rohan Crite
    • The Episcopal Society for Cultural and Racial Unity
    • The contributions of various individuals to the Episcopal Church, such as The Rt. Rev. John Thomas Walker, The Rt. Rev. Walter Decoster Dennis, Ms. Verna Dozier, The Rev. Canon Harold T. Lewis, The Rev. Canon Thomas W. S. Logan, Sr., and Canon Diane Porter.

    For more information, visit
    Download the application form here.
    Submit the application form online here

Historical Society of the Episcopal Church

Dedicated to promoting preservation of the history of the Episcopal Church
A 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization established for educational, charitable and religious purposes
(920) 383-1910 | | PO Box 197, Mineral Point, WI 53565-0197 | © 2024

Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software