The Reparations Task Force was created in 2020 and charged with helping to define what reparations would look like in the Diocese of Southern Ohio. In the fall of 2021, the task force was assigned to work with the Bishop and Trustees to explore the creation of a diocesan staff position whose focus would be to increase the vitality of the Black and brown communities of faith while also being an advocate for the engagement by all our congregations in responding to Jesus’ call to “love our neighbors as ourselves.”
The task force set up an action team, headed by Judge Tyrone Yates and representatives of the historic Black congregations. The group developed a gap analysis and a job description for the Black Missioner position. These documents were submitted to Canon Johanssen and Bishop Smith. A search for candidates has been initiated by the diocese and the position will be filled by the end of the year.
The Reparations Task Force has also been asked to initiate a Parish History Project. Bishop Smith has asked each congregation to write a history to include what its role was in different areas such as slavery, reconstruction and Jim Crow laws. Newer parishes may be able to report on what they experienced more recently during segregation, housing discrimination, and white flight. This information can be useful for conversations and a component of our upcoming (2025) Sesquicentennial celebrations. Reports can be submitted online.