This fall, Truro Anglican Church will launch the Truro Institute. The Institute board, Truro parish, and friends will gather for the guest lecture of Dr. Jacqueline Rivers, who will speak at Truro on September 21. Dr. Rivers is a Harvard sociologist and recognized world authority on the black church and family in America. Her address, America: A Four Hundred Year Experiment on the Black Family, will commemorate the 400th anniversary of the slave trade in North America, which began in the Anglican colony of Jamestown. Although present-day Anglicans are not personally responsible for the slave trade, we are nonetheless implicated in the sins of our ancestors (Exodus 20:5) as well as racist attitudes and behavior today. This event is held as an act of corporate repentance and a promissory note toward healing our legacies of harm. As such it is a foretaste of future Truro Institute initiatives, which have as their focus:
- To help deepen the solidarity between Jews and Christians in fostering shalom in America.
- To help heal the wounds of racial division, especially between black and white Christians.
As an ecumenical ministry in the Judeo-Christian tradition, the Truro Institute’s mission is inspiring Americans to love the other as other for the common good. Sometimes the other is perceived to be totally other, an enemy. Even in this extreme situation, we are still called to love the other. But is this possible? How does it work? Who does it, and how? Our friend Canon Andrew White is fond of saying, “An enemy is someone whose story we have not yet learned.” We have all been shaped by our unique histories and stories. The Institute is committed to helping persons, churches, synagogues, and communities learn the holy habits of thought and action that loving “the other, as other” requires. These holy habits of thought and action are necessary for openness to one another, civility in our mutual and public discourse, and a deeper understanding of disagreement, so that we’re not stuck on a zero-sum, winner/loser path. We believe this alternative path is what faith communities and average Americans must learn to walk if they wish to heal America of its current culture of contempt. We are very aware that this is a costly and counter-cultural initiative, both in society and in faith communities.
Truro Anglican Church just completed a peace pilgrimage to Northern Ireland, co-led by Tory Baucum, Les Fairfield, and Shannon Johnston, the retired Episcopal Bishop of Virginia. Along with Rabbi Dr. Marc Gopin, Director of the Center of World Religions, Diplomacy, and Conflict Resolution at George Mason University, Bishop Johnston is the co-chair of the Institute. Other members of the board include ACNA Bishop Todd Hunter, Mark Tooley of the Institute on Religion and Democracy, Rev. Eugene Rivers of the Seymour Institute, and Abbot James Albers of St. Benedict’s Abbey. Board-led pilgrimages, lectureships, and personal accompaniment are essential pedagogies of the Institute. The Truro Institute’s founding document and board members can be accessed here:
If you wish to attend Dr. Rivers’ lecture on September 21, you may register at bit.ly/rivers2019.
Finally, we thank the past several Truro vestries who persevered in their vision for the Institute, and Bishop John Guernsey, who challenged us to deepen our mission. We greatly appreciate his support of the Institute. Finally, we thank Archbishop Justin Welby, whose example and courage inspire us to continue to walk in truth and love and help the Christian Church recover its vocation of peace.
The Rev. Dr. Tory Baucum
Rector, Truro Anglican Church, and Director of the Truro Institute