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Episcopal Diocese of New York apologizes for church’s participation in slave trade, sets up reparations commission

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The Episcopal Diocese of New York held a special service on March 25 to apologize for its role in the transatlantic slave trade and the sect’s exploitation of enslaved black people, CBS New York reported.

Andrew Dietsche, the episcopal bishop of the diocese of New York who presided over the ceremony, said the sect’s sins include exploiting the free labor of African-American slaves to build churches in the diocese and discriminating against them even after emancipation.

Episcopal Diocese of New York apologizes for church's participation in slave trade, sets up reparations commission

The service was a milestone for the diocese, which was guided through the compensation process by the Compensation Committee, reports the Episcopal News Service.

“I think what I’m hoping is that the members of our diocese really understand that this is an institutional and collective apology,” Cynthia Copeland, Reparations Commission co-chair, told the Episcopal News Service.

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The diocese created the Compensation Commission in 2006, later renamed the Compensation Commission. In November 2019, the Diocesan Conference committed $1.1 million from the grant to fund the commission’s future recommendations.

Local news site Gothamist in New York reported that there were ongoing discussions about certain forms of compensation.

Episcopal Diocese of New York apologizes for church's participation in slave trade, sets up reparations commission

So far, the plan has focused on funding scholarships, health care, and housing for African Americans, as well as removing institutional barriers that prevented black church members from serving in “large” congregations.

New York was once the nation’s second-largest slave market and had a hand in financing the slave trade, Reverend Richard Witt, co-chair of the Reparations Committee, told the Episcopal News Service.

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