Committee for Diversity and Reconciliation
The School of Theology educates staff, students, faculty, and volunteers to function in a diverse environment by offering diversity workshops, programs, and conferences supported by the Gamaliel Foundation and the Kaleidoscope Institute with funding from Jesse Ball DuPont, Arthur Vining Davis, and the J. C. Flowers Scholarship Program.
Originally founded by Dean Emeritus William Stafford as the Committee for a New Day, the committee initially focused on historic issues of race and racism. The Committee for Diversity and Reconciliation is now expanding its engagement of faculty and students and broadening its scope of work to include a range of critical social issues, such as discrimination based on gender, sexual orientation, class, and disability. Listening sessions this fall will determine the direction of the committee's work in the coming year.
Dr. Paul Holloway is the chair of the committee, which is comprised of students and faculty members. Holloway is the professor of New Testament and not unfamiliar with prejudice through the ages. Two of his books, Coping with Prejudice: 1 Peter in Social Psychological Perspective (Tübingen, 2009), and Women and Gender in Ancient Religions (Tübingen, 2010), deal with issues of prejudice in early Christian context.
The Committee’s Charge
“This is a standing committee of The School of Theology. It is charged to deepen the education of this community concerning the sins of prejudice and discrimination based on such things as age, class, disability, ethnicity, gender, race, and sexual orientation. In the context of God’s creation and reconciliation of humankind it seeks to:
- develop and implement ways to foster a change of mind and heart in and beyond this community
- widen the presence and participation of under-represented groups throughout The School of Theology
- promote changes to our structures and culture so that we may be a more adequate sign and instrument of God’s reign.”
Priestly formation is in itself an exercise in diversity training, one that lies at the heart of the residential theological experience in Sewanee. Living in close community with a varied student population prepares priests for full engagement with the diversity of today’s Church and the modern world.
Sewanee provides many opportunities to engage with diverse ministry experiences despite its relatively isolated geographic location. Students can take advantage of the many options in cities across the country or they can choose a small local country parish or travel to nearby Chattanooga or Nashville for a big-city experience.
This committee plans, coordinates, and carries out service events through which members of the seminary community can witness to and live out their call to proclaim the Good News and to share their resources of time, money, and talent with persons in need. Projects frequently are responses to requests from Episcopal communities in Africa and Latin America. The committee also sponsors educational events to inform students about vocational opportunities in foreign missions.