Date: August 31, 2022
This year’s Introduction to Intercultural Competency begins today with a special presentation for incoming seminarians on the Doctrine of Discovery. Formulated in 1496, this doctrine claimed that Christian monarchs had the right to control lands inhabited by non-Christians. It ultimately caused great harm and suffering to Indigenous communities. Today’s session is being led by the Episcopal Church’s Missioner for Indigenous Ministries, the Rev. Dr. Bradley S. Hauff.
In 2009, the General Convention of the Episcopal Church repudiated the Doctrine of Discovery and called on Episcopalians to educate themselves about the doctrine and its impact on Indigenous peoples. In 2018, General Convention encouraged dioceses to recommend a four-hour training on the Doctrine for everyone in the ordination process and encouraged seminaries to support this training.
The Office of Multicultural Ministries wholeheartedly endorses these recommendations from General Convention because this is a history that needs to be understood, particularly because the consequences of that history continue to the present day. We are therefore grateful to Dr. Hauff for accepting our invitation to share his deep expertise and experience in this area with the VTS community.
The Rev. Joseph D. Thompson, Jr., Ph.D.
Associate Dean of Multicultural Ministries