(RNS) — A historic New York City church has decided to devote $200,000 — about a tenth of its budget — to provide housing assistance and youth anti-racism training.
The Rev. Jacqueline Lewis, the African American leader of the multiethnic Middle Collegiate Church, said the initiative is a way for her church to make amends. She noted that the church began after Dutch Reformed settlers bought the land that eventually became Manhattan from the Lenape, a Native American nation, in an unfair transaction. Its early clergy also included slaveholders.
“We are doing reparations,” she said of the plans for a portion of the church’s $2.3 million budget for the fiscal year that started July 1.
Half of the $200,000 is aimed at addressing the needs