Clergy and lay leaders from the Diocese of Long Island were featured prominently among scholars from around the Episcopal Church at the 20th Anniversary Symposium of the African American Episcopal Historical Collection on October 11. The theme of the symposium, “Honoring our Past, Shaping our Future”, was especially focused on critical moments and figures in Black Episcopalian history. Canon Charles Egleston and the Rev. Canon Dr. Lynn A. Collins were among three scholars awarded grants for research with the AAEHC Library.
Canon Egleston, former diocesan archivist and historian and retired librarian of the Mercer School of Theology Library, is in the process of writing a research paper entitled “Pre-1954 African American Episcopalians of South Carolina.” The paper includes a genealogy of the Right Rev. Richard Martin, the first Black Episcopal bishop (suffragan) in the Diocese of Long Island.
Canon Collins, who retired as rector of St. John the Evangelist Church in Lynbrook in 2022, presented the promotional trailer of a research documentary film, Forgotten Black Southern Women of Change. The film will be premiered at the Union of Black Episcopalians Conference in June 2024. Among other influential women, the documentary features the story of Elizabeth Evelyn Wright, founder of Voorhees College (now Voorhees University), the first Historical Black College and University (HBCU) in South Carolina and one of two remaining Episcopal HBCUs.
Additionally, the Rev. Gideon Pollach, rector of St. John’s in Cold Spring Harbor, was invited as a panelist to speak about the rediscovery of a graveyard on St. John’s property of freed Black Americans.
The symposium was held as part of Virginia Theological Seminary’s Bicentennial Week. The African American Episcopal Historical Collection is a cooperative effort of The Historical Society of the Episcopal Church and the Bishop Payne Library at Virginia Theological Seminary.
Photo (l to r): Canon Egleston, Canon Tony Lewis (longtime faculty at VTS and former director of the Mercer School of Theology), Fr. Pollach, Mr. Riley Temple (Collection Growth Specialist at AAEHC). MTS, Canon Collins, Fr. Joseph Thompson (Associate Dean of Multicultural Ministries at VTS).