Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Michael Curry invited people of all backgrounds and faiths to give generously to the Absalom Jones Fund in support of the work of two historically Black institutions of higher education in cultivating and preparing diverse leaders: Voorhees University and Saint Augustine’s University, according to a news release from the Episcopal Church Public Affairs Office.
Many congregations take dedicated offerings around Feb. 13 in observance of the Feast Day of Absalom Jones, the first Black priest ordained by the church. Jones recognized education as a key to empowerment.
“We have worked throughout the Episcopal Church to honor that legacy with worship services and gatherings of Episcopalians and friends,” Curry said. “In the last few years, we’ve created the Absalom Jones Fund as a way of supporting the two remaining Episcopal historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs).”
Both Saint Augustine’s University in Raleigh, N.C., and Voorhees University in Denmark, S.C., were founded after the Civil War to create educational opportunities for formerly enslaved people. They provide a liberal arts education to thousands of students, as well as offer robust campus ministries to help form young adults as followers of Jesus and his way of love.
“These two institutions educate many students who are first in their families to receive a higher education,” Curry said. “Students from these two colleges go into the world and make a difference in ethical living, sound leadership, and often in Christian vocation. They do this by the power of an education that helps them become leaders.
“That is a living legacy of Absalom Jones, who was born into slavery; his learning how to read led to his eventual emancipation from slavery and his work to bring slavery to an end and bear witness to the Gospel.”
Donations to the HBCUs (divided equally between the two) help support scholarships and financial aid for students in need as well as funding for quality facilities, faculty recruitment and retention, and the development of religious life on campus.
Supporting HBCUs is an investment in the ministry of reconciliation and building a better future for all, Curry said. “As much as we give to these institutions, they give back to our world many times over,” he said.
Parish resources: Find bulletin inserts and resources for worship services in honor of the Feast of Absalom Jones.
Read a biography of Absalom Jones.
To give: Make a donation online at iam.ec/givehbcu; text GIVEHBCU to 41444; or scan the QR code below.