Sewanee's Project Will Contribute to General Convention of Episcopal Church

Seminarian Hannah Pommersheim Will Present Project's Work at Austin Meeting Friday, July 6

Racism and racial reconciliation will be core topics addressed this week when Episcopalians from across the nation gather in Austin, Texas, for the Church’s General Convention.

The Sewanee Project on Slavery, Race, and Reconciliation at the University of the South will contribute to these conversations.

The Project will be represented by Hannah Pommersheim of the Diocese of Texas, who has just finished her second year of study at Sewanee’s School of Theology and is a member of the Project’s Working Group.

   Hannah Pommersheim, T’19

Ms. Pommersheim will be talking about the Project’s work and goals at Sewanee’s booth at the Austin Convention Center on Friday, July 6, from noon to 1 p.m., immediately following the joint session on Racial Reconciliation.

“We have been working hard at Sewanee on our own piece of telling the truth about our history and seeking reconciliation,” Ms. Pommersheim said.

“At Convention, I look forward to sharing our work and learning more about racial reconciliation efforts around the church. I am also excited to speak with the broader Sewanee community of alumni, parents, and friends to get them more engaged with our project.”

The Sewanee Project is a six-year initiative to investigate the university’s historic connections with slavery and slavery’s legacies. The Vice-Chancellor launched the Project in 2017. It is directed by Professor of History Woody Register, C’80, and supported by a Working Group of students from the College and School of Theology and university faculty and staff.

Ms. Pommersheim is working this summer as one of the Project’s research interns, focusing her work on the School of Theology’s history of resistance to desegregation in the 1950s and 1960s. She and fellow seminarian Kellan Day, T’19, recently received a John M. Gessell Fellowship in Social Ethics to develop a curriculum of study for parishes seeking to address the presence of memorials to the Confederacy in their churches.

“Hannah is an ideal person to tell Episcopalians from around the country about the work we are doing,” said Woody Register, the Project’s director and Professor of History. “She is deeply committed to the reconciliation goals of the Project and the Church's Becoming Beloved Community initiative on racial healing and justice.

"Plus she and her seminarian colleague Kellan Day have been important contributors to the Project from the start and critical advocates for the importance of the Project to the mission of the Episcopal Church.”

The meeting July 5-13 in Austin will be the 79th General Convention of the Episcopal Church. Held every three years, the General Convention, according to the Episcopal News Service, “is the bicameral governing body of The Episcopal Church. It comprises the House of Bishops, with upwards of 200 active and retired bishops, and the House of Deputies, with clergy and lay deputies elected from the 108 dioceses and three regional areas of the Church, at more than 800 members.”

Project on Slavery, Race and Reconciliation

The University of the South
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