Friday, February 26, 2010

Black History Month: Episcopalians

(October 9, 1917 – September 1, 2006)

A high school teacher of English literature and a religious educator, she focused adult education on Bible study and on claiming the authority of the laity. She is credited by many in the Episcopal Church with actually changing the field of scripture study and reclaiming attention to the ministry of all the baptized. A Washingtonian, Dozier was educated in public schools and at Howard University.

Raised a Baptist, in 1955 she joined the Episcopal Church. Later in life, she remarked, “When I discovered the Episcopal Church, it was as if I had been waiting for that all my life.” For 34 years she was employed by the Washington D.C. Board of Education. From the 1960s onward she became known for teaching scripture. After taking early retirement in 1975, she worked full time as religious educator, a church conference leader, and an author of books & articles on the ministry of God's people in the world. Here are 3 excerpts:

In Dozier, V. J. (1982). The authority of the laity.

It is important that we understand the Bible as model for how we live our lives, not as a rule book. The issue that the Bible raises is, in light of what God has done in history, what kind of response do I make in my daily life? (p. 13)

In Dozier, V. J. (1988). The calling of the laity:

There are no second-class citizens in the household of God. Religious authority comes with baptism, and it is nurtured by prayer, worship, bible study, life together. (p. 115)

What happens on Sunday morning is not half so important as what happens on Monday morning. In fact what happens on Sunday morning is judged by what happens on Monday morning. (p. 115)

You can find more on Verna Dozier here:

Talbot School of Theology

The Witness Magazine

Verna Dozier Bible Study

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