(RNS) — An Episcopal seminary in Virginia has announced plans to create a $1.7 million endowment fund whose proceeds will support reparations for the school’s ties to slavery.

Virginia Theological Seminary said in a Thursday (Sept. 5) statement that enslaved persons worked on its campus and the school “participated in segregation” after the end of slavery.

“This is a start,” said the Very Rev. Ian S. Markham, president of the Alexandria-based seminary, in the statement. “As we seek to mark (the) Seminary’s milestone of 200 years, we do so conscious that our past is a mixture of sin as well as grace. This is the Seminary recognizing that along with repentance for past sins, there is also a need for action.”

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