Episcopal Diocese Of South Carolina Announces New Commission On Racial Justice And Reconciliation

Press Release

In an effort to address long-standing systemic racism, the Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina is pleased to announce the formation of a Diocesan Commission on Racial Justice and Reconciliation.  

The Venerable Callie Walpole, Archdeacon of the Diocese, named Gail DeCosta and the Rev. Dr. Adam Shoemaker as co-chairs of the Commission. “Historically, we in the Diocese of South Carolina have occasionally behaved contrarily to the will of God in matters of inclusion vs. exclusion. We have not always walked humbly with our God. We have not always done justice to all,” said Archdeacon Walpole.

The commission will host their first public conversation on Friday, November 20, at 3 p.m. The online conversation will feature the Most Reverend Michael B. Curry, the Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church, and serve as the official kickoff to the 230th Diocesan Convention, themed “Walking Humbly with our God.” The event is free and open to anyone. The panel will be available to answer questions submitted from the viewers, including Presiding Bishop Curry.

Anyone who wishes to join in on the conversation can do so by visiting the official Diocesan YouTube and Facebook pages.

Presiding Bishop Michael B. Curry was installed as the 27th Presiding Bishop and Primate of The Episcopal Church on November 1, 2015. He was elected to a nine-year term and confirmed at the 78th General Convention of The Episcopal Church in Salt Lake City, UT, on June 27, 2015. He is the Chief Pastor and serves as President and Chief Executive Officer, and as Chair of the Executive Council of The Episcopal Church.

Gail DeCosta was born and raised in Charleston, SC, and was baptized and confirmed at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church.  For the past four and a half years, Kanyisile and Gail have been communicants at Grace Church Cathedral.  At Grace, Gail is a member and group leader of the AME-Episcopal book study which was initiated in response to the killings at Mother Emanuel AME Church in Charleston and it has been an educational and growing experience. Gail also was one of the representatives from the Diocese of South Carolina at the Province IV Conversation on Racial Healing & Reconciliation at the Absalom Jones Center for Racial Healing in Atlanta two years ago. She was recently named the co-chair of the newly established Diocesan Commission on Racial Justice & Reconciliation.

The Rev. Dr. Adam J. Shoemaker is Rector of St. Stephen's in downtown Charleston. Originally from New York City, Reverend Shoemaker was formed for ministry and ordained in the Diocese of Massachusetts and previously served as Rector of the Church of the Holy Comforter in Burlington, North Carolina. He also served as a Young Adult Service Corps missionary to a small Anglican mission on the western outskirts of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and sits on the Bilateral Commission between the Episcopal Church and the Episcopal/Anglican Church of Brazil. He is the Dean of the Charleston Peninsula Deanery and a member of Diocesan Council. His recent doctoral thesis at Duke included an oral history about the racial integration of St. Stephen's in the late 1980's. Reverend Shoemaker and his congregation are active members of the Charleston Area Justice Ministry, a local interfaith network of congregations organized to advocate for social justice in the Charleston area.

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