An important article by the Rev. Dr. Joseph Thompson

Date: December 8, 2023

Perhaps one of my significant initiatives that the Seminary embarked upon in preparation for the Historic Bicentenary was the program around reparations. The Rev. Dr. Joseph Downing Thompson Jr., our Associate Dean of Multicultural Ministries, is responsible for this program. Joe has now written two essays on the program; the first was co-written with me and appeared in Simon Lee and Ian S. Markham (eds), The Serendipity of Hope; the second, which is much more substantial, is entitled ‘”Bear Fruits Worthy of Repentance”: A Black Administrator’s Perspective on the Challenge and Promise of the Virginia Theological Seminary Reparations Program’ in Michael Barram et al (eds), Reparations and the Theological Disciplines (Lanham: Lexington Books 2023).

It is a deeply personal and engaging essay. Importantly, the essay places the program in an appropriate context, recognizing both its limited nature and the need for appropriate modesty. The sin is vast; the program is very small. The essay sets out the details behind the program; and it sets forth the rationale for its design.

Our work in reparations is important and complex. This extraordinary essay gives the reader a profound sense of its complexities. Thank you Joe both for your essay but, more importantly, your work.

The Very Rev. Ian S. Markham, Ph.D.
Dean and President of Virginia Theological Seminary and the President of The General Theological Seminary


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