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Racial Healing Center Expands Board to Reflect Expanded Programs and Reach

Jul 18, 2022

Opening of The Absalom Jones Episcopal Center for Racial Healing, October 2017. (pictured left to right) The Right Rev. Robert C. Wright, Bishop of Atlanta; Center founding director Catherine Meeks, PhD., The Right Rev. Victor Atta-Baffoe, Bishop of the Anglican Diocese of Cape Coast, Ghana; The Most Rev. Michael B. Curry, Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church. Photo: Don Plummer.

ATLANTA (July 15, 2022) – As The Absalom Jones Episcopal Center for Racial Healing in Atlanta celebrates its fifth anniversary this year it is expanding its Advisory Board.

Since opening in October 2017, the Center has grown its program and established itself as a national and international resource in the racial healing arena.

Founding Director Catherine Meeks, PhD., said that enlarging the Board to include local, national, and international members better supports the Center’s expanded work.

“We are delighted and encouraged by the amazing support that we have received over the past five years and the enthusiasm that continues to surround us as we allow the Spirit to lead us forward,” Meeks said when introducing the Center’s new Board Chair, The Reverend Matthew Heyd, Rector at Church of the Heavenly Rest in New York.

The Rev. Heyd said his parish’s work with the Center has involved difficult conversations but has attracted people to his parish “who want to be involved in something real that follows The Spirit and addresses the healing work that you’ve helped us to do which God calls all of us to and so I believe it’s The Spirit draws people in.”

“And in this moment when so much is up for grabs and the world is upside down so its broken and to be part of a place that’s committed to healing, I think is attractive even if the conversation can be difficult,” Heyd said.

“What you and Bishop [Rob] Wright have created is a wonderful gift and to be able to share it is a privilege and to be invited to be on the board was something that I was eager to be a part of and eager to support because I know our parish has really benefited by the relationship and I know that when you and I have these conversations nationally you can feel the energy in the connections you have made to all the programs and parishes that are and will be part of this national network,” Heyd said.

Heyd joins existing Center Board members: Sheryl H. Bowen, The Rev. Isaiah Shaneequa Brokenleg, Clint Deveaux, Judy Fielder, LaFawn Gilliam, The Rev. Dr. Simon Mainwaring, The Rt. Rev. Brian N. Prior, Archdeacon Juan Sandoval, Malinda Shamburger, The Very Rev. Fabio Sotelo, The Rev. Canon Stephanie Spellers, Ken Stewart, and The Rev. Dr. Ken Swanson.

Cofounded by The Episcopal Church and The Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta, The Absalom Jones Episcopal Center for Racial Healing offers prayerful education that forms and reforms individual and collective action: a defined curriculum, thoughtful training, pilgrimages, and dialogue. Guided by faith and led by intention, the Center seeks to create the beloved community and the rewards of living life in that community – free of racism. More at

Don Plummer is the beat reporter for The Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta. If you have story ideas, please reach out to Don.

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