Head shot of the Very Rev. Dr. Kelly Brown Douglas
Photo by Ron Hester

Reconciliation: Power, Promise, and Challenge

The Oxford Dictionary defines reconciliation as “the restoration of friendly relations.” Paul of Tarsus calls reconciliation a message and a ministry (2 Corinthians 5:18-19). The Roman Catholic Church uses the word as a name for one of its seven sacraments. And Trinity Church Wall Street is about to embark on a two-year journey to study reconciliation, its power, its potential, its challenge.

The exploration begins in an online event on Thursday, November 4 at 6:30pm when the Very Rev. Dr. Kelly Brown Douglas, Dean of the Episcopal Divinity School at Union, explores the theological frameworks of reconciliation, its central role in the Christian life, and how it can be an agent for change. Dean Douglas is Canon Theologian at the National Cathedral in Washington, Theologian in Residence at Trinity Church Wall Street, and author of “Resurrection Hope: A Future Where Black Lives Matter,” which will be released next month.

Book cover for Resurrection Hope by the Very Rev. Kelly Brown Douglas
Orbis Books

Prompted by two questions from her young-adult son after the murder of George Floyd ---“How do we really know that God cares when Black people are still getting killed? How long do we have to wait for the justice of God?” --- the book is a soul-searching reflection on the spiritual and moral illness of white supremacy, its corruption of Christian faith, and the basis for a “resurrection hope” in the Black Lives Matter movement. The book’s themes also provide an opportunity during the November 4 presentation to consider the role of what St. Paul called the “ministry of reconciliation” in the search for justice, equity, and mutual liberation, both in the Church and in society.

Over the next two years, a variety of speakers and faith leaders will join with Trinity parishioners and the wider community to explore how reconciliation connects with the Christian concepts of repentance, forgiveness, and resistance, and how with commitment, truth-telling, and hard work, it can be an agent for change.  

The presentation by Dean Douglas will set the stage for the programs planned for 2022, including events featuring the Rev. Canon Stephanie Spellers, Dr. Catherine Meeks, and Dr. Greg Garrett. The series will conclude with an exploration of “reconciliation in action” through a workshop on Restorative Justice.