Black and Episcopalian

The Struggle for Inclusion

Gayle Fisher-Stewart, Foreword by Kelly Douglas Brown

Jan/2022, 176 Pages, PAPERBACK, 6 x 9

ISBN-13: 9781640654785



A personal story of the struggle for authentic inclusion in the church. 

From a strong voice in the dialogue about what Black lives matter means in relation to faith, a powerful lament and a hopeful message about the future. Historically, to be Episcopal/Anglican, as it was to be American, was to be white. Assimilation to whiteness has been a measure of success and acceptance,  yet, assimilation requires that people of color give up something of themselves and deny parts of their heritage including religious practices that sustained their ancestors.

Despite the fact that Blackness is on display on Black History Month for example, and Black/African heritage is given primacy in the liturgy, music, and preaching during that time, at other times this doesn't seem to be the case. The author argues that whiteness is embedded in every aspect of religious life, from seminary to Christian education to last rites. Is it possible to be Black and Episcopalian and not feel alien, she asks. In her words we learn that inclusivity, above all, must be authentic.

Read an excerpt.

GAYLE FISHER-STEWART is an Episcopal priest and interim rector at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, Washington, DC. She has been involved in the valuing of diversity and black lives for over forty years. She has taught and preached nationally, both in and out of the church. She is a Christian educator and activist; her most recent work was published by Anglican Theological Review.

Kelly Brown Douglas, is an Episcopal priest and graduate (Master of Divinity degree, doctoral degree) of Union Theological Seminary in New York City, where she is now inaugural Dean of Episcopal Divinity School at Union Seminary.

“A relevant voice to those who have silently suffered and continue to suffer in a time such as this!”
—Rev. Charles D. Fowler III, African Methodist Episcopal Church

“[A] call to join Jesus in his transformative mission to change the world. May it be so.”
—Greg Garrett, author of A Long, Long Way: Hollywood’s Unfinished Journey from Racism to Redemption

“Gayle Fisher-Stewart guides us on a very thorough and at times very uncomfortable journey . . . [and] also offers great hope with her powerful suggestions . . .”
—Loretta Veney, author of Being My Mom’s Mom

“If you’re an Episcopalian, or mainline Protestant, or a US citizen, or if you just belong to any white-dominated institution that still claims Black membership, you need to read Black and Episcopalian.”
—The Rev. Peter Jarrett-Schell, author of Seeing My Skin: A Story of Wrestling with Whiteness

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  • Episcopal Church
  • racism
  • history
  • priesthood
  • Black studies

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