Date: August 25, 2023
Next week, the Office of Multicultural Ministries will host the annual Introduction to Intercultural Competency (ICC) for all new seminarians and employees, as well as a number of employees who are due for a repeat.
Participants have the flexibility to choose from presentations on a variety of compelling topics designed to support cultural awareness and to illustrate the importance of being more culturally aware. For example, Darnella McGuire-Nelson, a founder of Alexandria’s Social Responsibility Group, will discuss how intercultural competency opens “doors of success and opportunity for everyone, particularly for those in greatest need.”
I am pleased that we will also be joined by the Rev. Dr. Mary Crist, Coordinator of Indigenous Theological Education for the Episcopal Church. She will provide a training session on the Doctrine of Discovery for seminarians participating in ICC. Formulated in 1496, this doctrine claimed that Christian monarchs had the right to control lands inhabited by non-Christians, causing centuries of great harm and suffering to Indigenous communities. In 2018, the General Convention of the Episcopal Church encouraged dioceses to recommend a four-hour training on the Doctrine for everyone in the ordination process and encouraged seminaries to support the training.
This is a history that needs to be understood, particularly because the consequences continue to the present day. I am grateful to Dr. Crist for accepting our invitation to share her deep expertise in this area with the VTS community, in support of the General Convention recommendations.
The Rev. Joseph D. Thompson, Jr., Ph.D.
Associate Dean of Multicultural Ministries