15JanBlack History Month: Diocese holds unity forum, Absalom Jones celebration

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  • Category:Around the Diocese
  • Written By:jthoma

In the wake of the death of Trayvon Martin on February 12, 2012 in Sanford, a forum will be sponsored by The Episcopal Diocese of Central Florida, the church’s Anti-Racism Committee, Minority Ministries Commission and the Union of Black Episcopalians, at Church of the Holy Cross, Sanford.

The purpose of the forum, beginning 9 a.m. on February 16, is to show support for our Episcopal family in the Sanford community and the people of Sanford, planners said. A panel discussion, “Bringing the Good News Through Repentance, Redemption and Reconciliation,” will be led by the Right Rev. Gregory O. Brewer, Episcopal Diocese of Central Florida.

Absalom Jones Day

In conjunction with this event, the Central Florida Chapter of the Union of Black Episcopalians will sponsor a celebration of the life, mission, and ministry of the first Black Episcopal Priest, Absalom Jones.

Jones was born a slave in Sussex, Delaware in 1746. Prior to his ministry, he worked as a store clerk in Philadelphia, where he taught himself to read and was taught to write by another store clerk. He later married May King, another slave, and worked to purchase her freedom so their children would be free.

Jones, along with Richard Allen and other blacks were members of the interracial congregation of St. George Methodist Church. They left the church because of their treatment as second-class congregants. Jones and Allen subsequently founded the Free African Society (FAS), a non-denominational, mutual-aid society to aid freed slaves in Philadelphia.

Allen and Jones were collaborators for many years but separated regarding differences in the direction the church should take. In 1792, Jones founded the first black congregation in Philadelphia. He petitioned for the church to become the first African Episcopal Church of St. Thomas. It held its first services on July 17, 1794.

Jones was ordained as a deacon in 1795 and later became the first African American priest in the Episcopal Church.

We invite you to join the Sanford community and the Episcopal Church family for the forum and lunch at Holy Cross Episcopal Church, 401 South Park Avenue, Sanford. A donation of $10 is suggested. For more information, please call Holy Cross Episcopal Church at 407-322-4611.

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