HRI Book Study

HRI Purpose and Mission –

In 2016, the vestry of the St. Paul’s Episcopal Church of Richmond, Virginia established the History and Reconciliation Initiative (HRI) and charged HRI with tracing and acknowledging the racial history of St Paul’s in order to repair, restore, and seek reconciliation with God, each other, and the broader community. HRI established a steering committee and sub-committees (memorials, liturgy/music, historical research) to complete its mission.

About the Book Study –

Join St. Paul’s this summer in reading, Blind Spots: Race and Identity in a Southern Church. This book is the outgrowth of a research report developed by the History and Reconciliation Initiative (HRI) research group, which delves into St. Paul’s history in relation to race, identity, and justice.

St. Paul’s will host a series of small group conversations (online and, potentially, in-person) to discuss the learnings from the book and explore what this means for St. Paul’s future. See below message from book author, historian, and committee member Chris Graham, about the development of the book and questions to keep in mind while reading.

Rev. Charlie interviews members of the HRI Committee about the book release and next steps:

How to Get Your Books –

We have a couple of contactless options for receiving your book. All books are provided free of charge.

  • Home Delivery – e-mail your name, address, and how many books you would like to Lynn Williams HERE.
  • Curbside Pick-up at St. Paul’s – Thursday, May 21st from 1 to 3 pm on Grace Street, outside of St. Paul’s. Drive up and someone will gloves and mask on will hand you your packaged books.

Questions: contact Director for Outreach and Community Engagement, Lynn Williams.

Message from the Author –


St. Paul’s History and Reconciliation Initiative is pleased to present the report of its historical research group – Blind Spots: Race and Identity in a Southern Church.

We had planned to host a Spring and an Autumn congregational discussion of the book that featured periods of discernment and periods of prayerful direction-seeking that would align with other HRI efforts and culminate with the kickoff of our 175th anniversary. The Coronavirus, however, derailed those plans.

Our discussions will move forward in a modified form later this summer and early autumn. Stand by for that agenda.

To be prepared for them, I hope you can approach your reading with these questions in mind:

  • What surprised you about this history? What disappointed you? What stands out as particularly important? What gave you hope?
  • What lessons can we take from the past about how we act in the future?

That second question is the key: in the end, this exercise is less about dwelling in the past, and more about how we absorb history’s lessons so that we can do better going forward.

So… read with grace, take lots of notes, think about the future, and come prepared to reflect and talk. We look forward to the conversation.

– Christopher Alan Graham

Click Here to read more about the History and Reconciliation Initiative