Mine Eyes Have Seen the Savior

Introduction by the Rt. Rev. Orris G. Walker, Diocese of Long Island
June 2, 2003

By the Rt. Rev. Orris G. Walker, Diocese of Long Island

Mine Eyes Have Seen the Savior is a gift. The African-American community within our Church extends an invitation to the entire Episcopal Church to share in the retelling of our story, a story of a people uprooted and transplanted.

At present we can best be described as Afro-Anglicans, that is, Black Episcopalians living in the United States who trace their origins to the continent of Africa. Over the years Caribbean and African people have reshaped the traditional African-American constituency of our Church. Our full history is the account of how God, through events and people, has “brought us thus far on the way.”

The harsh reality of our struggle will move many to tears and cries of outrage. Others will be surprised by the humor, joy, and celebration that are so deeply and mysteriously rooted in the Black experience. If this Church is serious about doubling the size of its membership in the not-too-distant future, then it must deal with the history of its Black members because that reality has profoundly shaped Christianity on these shores.

While this video chronicles our struggle, it is also the account of how our Church labored with the consequences of the sin of racism. Our testimony is about how a once-enslaved people transformed a religion that was originally employed to oppress them. Through our struggle, the liberating power of the Gospel of Christ began a process that continues to initiate release for both the oppressed and the oppressor. The reality — that God hears the cries of the downtrodden and that in Jesus they are led into a new life of freedom and grace — has been the consistent witness of the Black church.

In recent attempts at reconciliation in South Africa we have seen the healing power of truth-telling. The spiritual testimony of the Black church community to this nation is that God has not finished with us yet!

As we continue our Church’s commitment to anti-racism training and education, this video and study guide will be an important resource. The Church owes appreciation to all who have participated in its production.

Our forebears left a glorious legacy. Your Afro-Anglican sisters and brothers now offer the riches of this heritage to the whole Church.