Rev. Absalom Jones, an African American, was born enslaved in 1746 but became an Episcopal Priest in 1802. In 1792, Jones and Richard Allen founded the African Episcopal Church of St. Thomas in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, when they and other black congregants were not allowed to worship with fellow parishioners at their church. Although his extraordinary legacy does not get shared enough, today, Episcopalians continue to benefit from his accomplishments as a tireless abolitionist, educator, and early feminist.
The 220-year history of African Americans in the Episcopal priesthood gives us a great reason to reflect on who we are. It seems fitting that we begin celebrating our heritage and faith in the Pacific Northwest through a newly formed chapter of the Union of Black Episcopalians (UBE).
The early contributions of African descendants in the Anglican tradition is one of which all Episcopalians can be proud. Let us reclaim what we know about our freedom of religious expression without the constraining biases surrounding black people of faith.
We are diverse in origin, appearance, and tradition, as were our self-sufficient ancestors, ripped from African lands. Though the past is painful, and many challenges persist, we believe in one holy Catholic and Apostolic Church.
We are proud to begin the Pacific Northwest UBE Chapter in earnest and faith, and we welcome all those who want to explore our heritage to join in this journey with us.
If you are interested, please email us at: email@example.com.
Daniel W. Jones, MBA
Member of Vestry
Grace Memorial Episcopal Church
The Rev’d Maria McDowell, PhD
St. Philip the Deacon Episcopal Church
Meetings will be held the second Monday of the month from 7-8pm at a Portland area church. We also want to schedule the meeting at other parishes in Western Washington and Oregon each quarter.
To learn more about the Union of Black Episcopalians, kindly visit www.ube.org.