Sewanee: School of Theology Theses 2010

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    Early Missionary Work of the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society (DFMS) of the Protestant Episcopal Church in Liberia and Their Differential Effects 1821-1871
    (2010-05) Yarsiah, James
    The leadership approach and conflict resolution styles used by early missionaries to evangelize and plant the Protestant Episcopal Church among the native peoples and black emigrants of Liberia have helped to produce a more dependent and westernized Episcopal Church in Liberia. This study is a critical and evaluative exercise that describes the differential effects that the early missionary work of the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society of the Protestant Episcopal Church had among indigenous/natives and the settlers/colonists societies in Liberia, from 1821 to 1871. This project will seek to uncover the strategies implemented and the results attained by the early American missionaries who struggled to plant the Protestant Episcopal Church among indigenous Africans and black emigrants in early 19th century Liberia. The native peoples, black returnees from America and white missionaries, each, played a significant role during the early years of missionary activities in Liberia. While the missionary efforts of the DFMS to evangelize and establish the Episcopal Church in Liberia is applauded, we also criticize the approach and method used to institutionalize the Protestant Episcopal Church USA in Liberia, without much alteration or revision.
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    An Evaluation of the Transition Process within the Episcopal Church aka "So you want to call a Rector or Be a Rector? Church Deployment for Dummies"
    (University of the South, 2010-05) Hutton, Linda V
    The January 2007 edition of Episcopal Life carried an article titled: “Singing the unemployment blues: Minimal help, outdated job listings and silence from potential employers test job seeker.” The article drew a surprising number of editorial responses in the following issue—all in concurrence with the author’s article. Three years ago, I spent over 21 months as an Interim, Priest-in-Charge while concurrently searching for a rector position. I coincidentally provided pastoral care to my congregation’s search committee as they also sought to weave their way through this cumbersome process of finding a new rector. As a result, I found myself with a unique perspective of simultaneously looking at both sides. I had the opportunity to participate fully in a number of search processes. Throughout the search process, I noticed numerous glaring mistakes made by search committees and prospective candidates, myself included that could easily be corrected if only someone would address them in a public venue. I designed this project to do just that, hence the title: “So You Want to Call a Rector or Be a Rector? Church Deployment for Dummies ©.” This work is intended for a publishing proposal to Wiley Publications, the trademark and copyright holder of the For Dummies series. This comprehensive “process guide,” which constitutes Part II of this work, incorporates the analyzed data and recommendations of Part I into the main body. The elements in Part II outline procedures and considerations for both search committees and rector candidates. The transition process for calling and installing rectors in the Episcopal Church is in many ways cumbersome and inefficient. Comments concerning “deployment” in The Episcopal Church, from bishops, transition officers, search committees, and priests, are universally negative. The first question is: Are these negative reactions valid? Are the reasons for such a universally negative opinion based upon fact, experience, or hearsay? Admittedly, the transition process in The Episcopal Church does some things well and some things less well. The question is why and what can be done, given the varieties and differences between 100-plus unique dioceses and thousands of parishes ranging in size from small family to mega-large corporate? The transition process is fundamentally an integrated system whose purpose is the connection of a church and its rector. However, the question asked is, “Is the system operating efficiently or in a way that at times actually impedes mission accomplishment”? Research found that despite the nearly universal perception that the transition process of The Episcopal Church is “broken,” the data fundamentally rejects that perception. Although both search committees and rector candidates often felt frustration with the process and they subsequently reported parts of the process confusing or cumbersome, satisfaction with the results were mutual and statistically overwhelming. This does not mean that there are no lessons learned or room for improvement. The good news is that the ‘system’ does work, albeit inefficiently.
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    A Theological Examination of Reconciliation Within a Political Context: The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of South Africa
    (University of the South, 2010-05) Warner, Suzanne
    1. During the past twenty years the world saw the development of the phenomenon of “Truth and Reconciliation Commissions” as an approach to resolve fractures within communities and nations, especially after periods of civil unrest, civil war, and other forms of violence and tension. Two basic questions emerge: What is reconciliation, and how does a society know that reconciliation has been accomplished? 2. Insights of theological ethics can provide a source for examination of the process of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of South Africa (TRC). Response to the questions may provide a view of the process to clarify the impact of the TRC on reconciliation in South Africa. 3. The TRC was a political creation, established through negotiations for an end to conflict that extended over decades. To provide insight into complex problems relating to reconciliation, Section II presents a history of the influences in South Africa relevant to apartheid and those conflicts. 4. Section III covers the formation and operation of the TRC, including participation of Christian leadership under Archbishop Desmond Tutu and others. 5. Section IV presents the “Cradock Four” case study. 6. Ubuntu is a decidedly African understanding of community. Christian ubuntu is a deeper understanding of community where individuals are seen as made in the image of God and the community as the kingdom of God. Section V presents and expands these concepts, unfamiliar to the western world. Concepts of Bernard Lonergan that guided examination of the material are included. 7. The conclusion, Section VI, presents the examination of the TRC and case study in light of the understanding of Christian ubuntu and the methods of Lonergan. The conclusions shift the focus of the original questions to suggest reconciliation as a process rather than a solution concluding a process. Success or decline within reconciliation is subject to continuing examination and evaluation. On earth the kingdom of God strives for unity with God and others. Glimpses of what unity might look like are in the work. Reconciliation also has an already-but-not-yet quality that moves those in conflict closer to unity and harmony.
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    James Solomon Russell: Educator, Archdeacon and Saint of Southern Virginia
    (University of the South, 2010-05) Norman, Worth E Jr
    The subject of this paper is James Solomon Russell, an ex-slave and founder of St. Paul’s College in Lawrenceville, Virginia. Russell also served as Archdeacon for Colored Work in the Episcopal Diocese of Southern Virginia from 1893 to 1929. This study covers the time from Russell’s birth in 1857 to his death in 1935. It takes into account the non-stop efforts of Russell toward reconciliation within the Episcopal Church among whites and African-Americans. It will be argued using established historical facts that James Solomon Russell was not only a leader, but possibly the pivotal player in the development of educational access for former slaves within the Episcopal Church in the period from post Reconstruction to the early 20th century. He was also, as alluded to above, the human linchpin holding in dialogue and debate rival positions concerning the full and equal participation of African-Americans in the governance of the Episcopal Church in the Diocese of Southern Virginia. When the Diocese of Southern Virginia was created out of the undivided Diocese of Virginia in 1892-93 Russell was appointed Archdeacon for Colored Work, a charge that lasted until 1929. It is the work as Archdeacon, as well as that of principal of St. Paul’s, that gave Russell a platform in working for full acceptance of African-Americans not only within the Diocese of Southern Virginia but in the Episcopal Church as a whole. Perhaps Russell’s most aggressive opposition came from the American Church Institute for Negroes (ACIN) and its first executive director, Samuel Bishop. The ACIN, formed in 1906, was the Episcopal Church’s successor organization to previous church agencies attempting to fund colored schools after the end of Reconstruction. But the ACIN and Samuel Bishop had problems with Russell and the manner in which he operated the St. Paul school. Bishop actually underwrote the cost of a trip to Europe for Russell to get him out of the country while he and the ACIN tried to take over the operation of the school. In 1999 the book Dangerous Donations: Northern Philanthropy and Southern Black Education, 1902-1930 was published by Eric Anderson and Alfred Moss, Jr. The book is about efforts of wealthy Northern philanthropists attempting not only to fund but to control the funding mechanisms of all similar philanthropic agencies assisting Southern black schools and colleges. The leader agency was the General Education Board (GEB) established by the Rockefeller Foundation in 1902. As a case study Anderson and Moss spend two of their seven chapters on the ACIN. In those chapters they track the beginnings of ACIN, modeled on the GEB, and its on-going operational and funding problems and their problems with James Solomon Russell. The battles within the Church were of a longer-term nature. Russell’s platform as archdeacon gave him multiple opportunities to speak and deliver his message or plea for a change of heart regarding African-American representation in the Church. Primarily working within his own Diocese of Southern Virginia, Russell’s oratorical skill was not overlooked by others within the larger Church. Russell was also a participant in the national debate over liberal arts vs. industrial education. Though not of the national notoriety of Booker T. Washington, Russell had his own battles with educators, parents and the church over industrial education. Russell was able to satisfy most of his students’ parents and his outside funding agencies. In 1996 the Diocese of Southern Virginia honored the memory of James Solomon Russell by making him a “local saint.” The diocese submitted a memorial to General Convention 2009 to make a Commemoration in the church calendar for Russell. Despite these two acts it is the writer’s belief that Russell is under-represented in church, educational and historical literature for the significant contributions he made. The writer of this thesis paper is making an effort to interpret Russell’s thinking based on available documentation and the results of his efforts through history. Therefore, this paper might be considered an interpretive biography of James Solomon Russell.
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    Botho: Sotho Tswana Ethics of Social Justice
    (University of the South, 2010-05) Mphetolang, Kagelelo
    Social justice is an important topic in the church at the present moment. There seem to be conflicting ideas on how the church should approach this subject. Individual autonomy is often at loggerheads with Communalism. The church often finds herself subjected to conflicts on ethical matters, mostly due to these two different ideologies. Western churches, due to their Enlightenment experiences, argue for individual autonomy, often pitted against their Eastern counterparts, who are more inclined to communal living. These two ideologies are often at polarized ends, each seeking legitimacy as the core center of social justice and Christian ethics. The church in Botswana, like all other churches, finds herself in the midst of these two conflicting ideologies. Faced with a growing tension between the rich and the poor, the church has to come up with a voice that will create a balance between these conflicting views. The church in Botswana cannot ignore the fact that many people are now isolated more than ever by growing individualism. She, on the other hand, cannot again ignore the need to stress the importance of individual autonomy and the right to make free independent choices. In its quest to solve this dilemma, this thesis offers the ethic of Botho; a precept of Sotho ­ Tswana ancient ethics that have guided communities for generations. Sotho ­ Tswana communities are members of the Bantu languages, found in most parts of Africa. They, however, have always had a unique view of being human. The human being is seen as both an independent individual yet still a member of the community. This ethic offers a balance between communal living whilst yet affirming the individual as a member of a community. This thesis therefore, purports to describe the ethic of Botho, and how it has manifested itself in the lives of Batswana (people of Botswana). This thesis will also try to establish if this ethic is compatible with Christian teaching and theology on social justice.