Title

African-American leadership in the Episcopal diocese of western North Carolina

Publication Date

1-1-2002

Degree Name

MA in International and Intercultural Management

First Advisor

Mary Gannon

Abstract

This paper addresses the lack of African-American leadership in The Episcopal Church in the Diocese of Western North Carolina. After working as an intern in the Office of Justice and Outreach Ministries in the Diocesan Administrative Office, the author questioned the lack of Black leadership of Church Committees, as Priests and employees. The question of why there are not more Black leaders was approached from a historical, as well as a sociological position. The conclusion is that there were from fall of 2000 through the fall of 2001, no Blacks in leadership positions in The Episcopal Diocese of Western North Carolina. The author addresses the question of what would empower Blacks to assume leadership positions within the church, including the pursuit of seminary training leading to the ministry. The author concluded that historically, in this region of Western North Carolina and the South, Blacks have not been included in decision-making roles in the Episcopal Church. Several sociological factors appear to influence the lack of Black participation as leaders. The few African-Americans who have been in leadership positions in the past need to share their experience, to train and inspire additional African-Americans, thus empowering increased participation from the African-American community. The author also concluded that emerging African-American and other multicultural leaders need to have mentors within the system for support and training, as well as opportunities for education and leadership. The Episcopal Diocese of Western North Carolina has never done a diversity assessment of the organization, the employees and communicants. The cultural traditions and music of the multicultural and African-American populations have not been incorporated into the services and celebrations. The author concluded that inclusive, social change must begin with the top management and administration, continuing throughout the organization, to be a fully inclusive, diverse institution embracing a variety of traditions within the predominantly Anglican, Euro-American, White community.

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