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Union of Black Episcopalians Moves onto VTS' Campus; Continues Tradition of Black Ministry Excellence

Media Contact: Curtis Prather  
Tel: 703-461-1782  
Email: cprather@vts.edu 

ALEXANDRIA, VA – Virginia Theological Seminary (VTS) welcomes the Union of Black Episcopalians (UBE) and its president, the Rev. Kim L. Coleman ‘01, onto campus. UBE will take residence in Sparrow Hall and will continue their dedication to the ministry of Black Episcopalians across the Church.

Beginning with the 1792 establishment of the African Episcopal Church of St. Thomas by Absalom Jones through the appointment and election of 49 Black bishops, there has always been a strong lifeblood of Black ministry in the Episcopal Church. Leaders like the Rt. Rev. John T. Walker, the Rt. Rev. Barbara C. Harris, and the Most Rev. Michael B. Curry have paved the way for the full inclusion of Black people in the life of The Episcopal Church at every level.  

Organized in 1968 as the Union of Black Clergy and Laity, UBE is dedicated to the ministry of Black Episcopalians. UBE’s mission is to unite the diverse cultures, concerns and gifts of Black Episcopalians by providing preparation and encouragement for living the Baptismal Covenant and fully participating in the mission and governance of The Episcopal Church.

As home to the former Bishop Payne Divinity School and alma mater of the Rt. Rev. John T. Walker, the first African American to be admitted as a student in 1951, VTS and UBE’s histories intersect significantly. From this residency, UBE hopes to find opportunity to partner with VTS in modeling for the larger church how to work together in dismantling racist systems and in building God’s beloved community.  and continue the tradition of more than 200 years of Black leadership in the Episcopal Church.

The Union of Black Episcopalians is a confederation of more than 42 chapters and interest groups throughout the continental United States and the Caribbean. UBE also has members in Canada, on the continent of Africa, and in Latin America.    

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Founded in 1823 as a beacon of hope in a country new and finding its way, Virginia Theological Seminary has led the way in forming leaders of the Episcopal Church, including: the Most Rev. John E. Hines (VTS 1933, D.D. 1946), former presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church; the Rt. Rev. John T. Walker (VTS 1954, D.D. 1978), the first African-American bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington; and theologian, author and lay preacher Ms. Verna J. Dozier (VTS D.D. 1978). Serving the worldwide Anglican Communion, Virginia Theological Seminary educates approximately 25% of those being ordained who received residential theological education. Visit us online at www.vts.edu. 
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