On Tuesday, the Church of England issued an apology for its past involvement with slavery on behalf of a related financial organization that is currently working to make amends with harmed communities.
Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, the head of the Anglican Church, replied, “I am deeply sorry. “Now is the time to act in response to this repugnant past.”
Following revelations that “the Church Commissioners’ endowment had historical ties” to the transatlantic slave trade in June 2022, a report was made public on Tuesday.
A donation from a fund established by Queen Anne in 1704 to aid the neediest clergy helped launch the Church Commissioners of England in 1948.
According to the report, this fund made “significant” investments in the South Sea Company, which dealt in the trade of African slaves. Additionally, those connected to the slave trade and the plantation economy gave money to the organization.
The Church Commissioners issued a statement apologizing profusely for the involvement of their forebears in the transatlantic slave trade.
For “a better and fairer future for all,” the organization has pledged a fund of 100 million pounds (113.1 million euros) over the following nine years.
Particularly “communities that have been affected by slavery” will receive this money. The money will be used in part to conduct additional research on the connections between the Church and slavery.
Bishop David Walker of Manchester, the Church Commissioners’ deputy chairman, stated that the group now aspires to leave a “lasting positive legacy that will serve communities affected by slavery.”
To support church and clergy activities, the Church Commissioners oversee a £10.1 billion (€11.4 billion) investment fund.
Nothing we do, hundreds of years later, will bring back the lives of those who were held as slaves, the Commissioners stated in the report’s introduction.
But by acknowledging the horror and shame of the Church’s involvement in the slave trade, we can start to address the injustices that have been done.
As Britain deals with the fallout from its colonial past, the Church of England has previously expressed regret for its historical affiliation with slavery.
It was deemed a “disgrace” by the church in 2020 that some of its members had “actively profited” from slavery.