I am pleased to announce the publication of my latest academic article, “Three Ministers, Black Communicants, and the Civil War Era,” in Anglican and Episcopal History 92, No. 3 (September 2023): 398-426. Faithful readers of my blog may recall that I co-authored the article with my late uncle, Rev. Loren B. Mead.
A retired Episcopal priest, Loren was working on a book about the three white clergymen in the nineteenth century Episcopal Church of South Carolina: Peter Fayssoux Stevens (1830-1910), A. Toomer Porter (1828-1902), and William Porcher DuBose (1836-1918). These men came of age in antebellum South Carolina, fought for the Southern Confederacy in the Civil War, and served as clergy in the postwar years. They shared a common understanding of the church’s duties before the war, but their responses to emancipation, Reconstruction, and the Jim Crow (segregation) era demonstrated a range of reactions. Peter Fayssoux Stevens left the Protestant Episcopal Church (PEC) for the Reformed Episcopal Church (REC) when Blacks were not afforded an opportunity to choose their own leadership within the PEC. A. Toomer Porter argued that Black communicants should choose their own leaders in Black PEC institutions, but he continued working within the church even after white leaders rejected his entreaties. William Porcher DuBose was a white supremacist who was comfortable denying Black communicants a place within the postwar PEC. In fact, DuBose once described the Ku Klux Klan as a “genius organization” that allowed southern whites to control Blacks during Reconstruction.
Loren worked on the project for a couple of years before he died on May 5, 2018. He had gathered most of the research, prepared a general outline, and written a few pages of general observations and impressions. I finished the work based on his direction.
A native South Carolinian, Loren spent much of his adult life and professional career thinking about ministers and their congregations. He founded the Alban Institute in 1974, and he spent the next 20 years working to improve the work of congregations at the helm of this organization. In his salad days, Loren was also a prolific author. Many of his books can be found at this link: loren b. mead | Rowman & Littlefield.
Late in life, Loren chose to focus on the work of Stevens, Porter, and DuBose. When it was clear that he could not finish, I was honored to lend a hand and help bring his work to fruition. I am laboring to produce a book-length study of these men in the next year or two. Stay tuned.