Video of the original Gessell presentation made by Day and Pommersheim.

Confederate Symbols & Episcopal Churches Workshop: Tools for Leading Change


Based on a curriculum developed by organizers the Rev. Kellan Day, T’19, and the Rev. Hannah Pommersheim, T’19, during their senior year in seminary of the School of Theology as John M. Gessell Social Ethics Fellows, a pilot workshop has been developed to equip Episcopal clergy with tools for reconciling Confederate symbols in their parishes. Day and Pommersheim spoke with 13 priests and bishops from around the country with experience in this area and created multiple case studies from their research. As a result, they developed a curriculum that covers three main areas: theological underpinnings, arts and symbols, and best practices.

"Confederate Symbols & Episcopal Churches: Tools for Leading Change" will take place on the campus of the University of the South from Nov. 5–7, 2019. Workshop sessions will be led by a teaching faculty composed of University professors and Episcopal clergy as well as Day and Pommersheim. Dr. Shelley MacLaren, curator of the University Art Gallery, and Dr. Woody Register, director of The Roberson Project on Slavery, Race, and Reconciliation, will teach the section on arts and symbols. The Rev. Jamie Osborne, T’17, associate rector of St. John’s Montgomery, Alabama, will teach the section on theological underpinnings. The Rev. Molly Bosscher, T’08, rector of St. Andrew’s Grand Rapids, Michigan, and former associate at St. Paul’s, Richmond, Virginia, will conduct the part on best practices. 


This pilot workshop is currently accepting 10–15 participants who are clergy currently working at an Episcopal parish that has a Confederate symbol or Confederate history. Additionally, participants in this first pilot will be part of an ongoing cohort of clergy supporting each other. Meals and workshop materials will be covered. Participants are expected to cover their own travel and lodging costs.


Based on the results of the pilot, this training or curriculum could be more widely available for lay people or other clergy interested in these topics who aren’t currently serving in such parishes.


Clergy in parishes with Confederate symbols: Register Here for the Workshop.

Lay people or cle‌rgy in other parishes: Sign up to join our email list about future workshops and projects here.



The Sewanee Project on Slavery, Race, and Reconciliation

This pilot workshop is made possible by a grant from the Jessie Ball duPont Fund. The workshop is supported by the Sewanee Project on Slavery, Race, and Reconciliation.  Sewanee’s six-year initiative is investigating the universities historical entanglements with slavery and slavery’s legacies. The Project encompasses the period starting with the university’s origins in the 1850s and up through the long century of Jim Crow racial oppression and injustice after the Civil War. To learn more about the Project’s work visit the website or Facebook page.