“I am deeply sorry“reacted the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, the spiritual leader of the Anglican Church. “The time has come to take action in response to this shameful past“.
The report published this Tuesday, January 10, follows revelations in June 2022 that “the endowment of Church Commissioners had historical ties“with the transatlantic slave trade.
South Sea Company
The body of Church of England Commissioners was established in 1948, in part with a donation from a fund dating back to Queen Anne in 1704 to help poorer members of the clergy.
However, the report reveals that this fund had invested “significant amounts” in the South Sea Company, which traded in African slaves. He had also received donations from people involved in the slave trade and the plantation economy.
“Church Commissioners deeply sorry for their predecessors’ ties to the transatlantic slave trade“, the organization said in a statement.
The body has pledged a fund of 100 million pounds (113.1 million euros) for the next nine years to “a better and fairer future for all“. This money will go in particular to “communities that were affected by slavery“. Part of the funds will be intended to deepen research on the links between the Church and slavery.
Deputy Chairman of Church Commissioners, Bishop of Manchester David Walker, said the body now hoped to create a “lasting positive legacy, which will serve communities affected by slavery“.
We will seek to begin to respond to the injustices committed.
Extract from the report of the Commissioners of the Church
The Church Commissioners manage a £10.1 billion (€11.4 billion) investment fund to support church and clergy activities.
“Nothing we do, hundreds of years later, will restore the lives of enslaved people.“, wrote the Commissioners in the introduction to their report. “But we can and we will recognize the horror and shame of the Church’s role in the slave trade, and through responses we will seek to begin to address the injustices committed.“.
The Church of England has already apologized for its past links to slavery, as Britain faces the legacy of its colonial past.
In 2020, the Church had called “shame“the fact that some of its members had”actively profited“of slavery.