For 40 years, Episcopal Divinity School (EDS) has provided an opportunity for seminarians seeking to strengthen their theological education through participation in social movements to apply for the Jonathan Myrick Daniels Memorial Fellowship.
“This fellowship is awarded annually to one or more students in accredited seminaries around the United States and Canada,” explained EDS dean and president Bishop Steven Charleston. “There’s an open door here for people of many traditions to be part of it.”
The fellowship was established by the trustees of EDS in memory of Daniels, a 26-year-old EDS seminarian who answered the call of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to help register African-American voters in Alabama, only to be shot and killed months later while shielding 16-year-old Ruby Sales from the shotgun fired by a sheriff's deputy.
The purpose of the fellowship is to enable students to disengage from academic life and engage in an area of social concern, such as racial equality, civil rights, fair housing, community organization or environmental issues. The grant money is not intended to support research, supervised field education, existing non-profit
organizations, or any activity that is primarily based in the school curriculum itself. There are no restrictions as to the location of a project.
For the past few years, applications have only averaged “between three and five,” Charleston said. “The hope is that if we can increase awareness of the fellowship, we could receive many more.”
“We think that the continuing visibility and strength of our Jonathan Daniels Fellowship is really graphic proof of why we need to continue training people in the areas of social justice, reconciliation and peace making,” said Charleston. “Sadly the truth is [that] ever since the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s, we face even more issues around areas of discrimination and justice making in our culture and around the world.”
Citing the recent events in New Orleans as evidence, he said “there’s still a lot to be done, so having this particular fellowship is so important.”
For an application, call Penny Kohn, fellowship committee chair, at 617.868.3450 ext. 525. The deadline is February 15. The fellowship committee meets in March to review all proposals and make funding decisions.
Note: The following title is available from the Episcopal Book/Resource Center, 800.334.7626; http://www.episcopalbookstore.org/
To Read: EPISCOPALIANS AND RACE: Civil War to Civil Rights by Gardiner H. Shattuck, Jr., $35.
Episcopalians and Race examines the ambivalent relationship between African Americans and the predominantly white leadership of the Episcopal Church. Paying special attention to the1950s and 1960s, the author focuses on the impact of the civil rights movement on church life. As historians have recently suggested, the efforts of mainline Protestant denominations were critically important in the struggle for civil rights, and Episcopalians expended significant resources in striving for racial justice and in strengthening the missionary outreach among African Americans in the South.
An Episcopal priest with a Ph.D. in religion from Harvard University, Shattuck discusses both the church's lofty theological ideals and the often shoddy treatment of its African American members. He offers an insider's history of the church's efforts to come to terms with race and racism in the United States over the past century and a half.