The Church of England’s investment body has announced new funding to compensate for its slavery links.
In an effort to “address past wrongs,” the Church Commissioners' Board will seek to invest £100m over the next nine years to back community projects helping families affected by the slave trade.
The new fund follows a Church Commissioners interim report looking into the origins of it's funds. It concluded part of its endowment traces back to Queen Anne’s Bounty, a financial scheme established in 1704.
The report showed Queen Anne’s Bounty invested “significantly” in the South Sea Company, an organisation which traded and transported enslaved people from Africa to the Caribbean.
“We felt that it was important to understand our past better in order to be able to fulfil our mission to support the Church of England today and into the future,” Gareth Mostyn, chief executive of the Church Commissioners, told Premier.
“We were clear that this investment back in the 18th century was wrong and shameful. And we wanted to do our best to set out on a journey of reconciliation and renewal,” he continued.
An oversight group will be set up during 2023 to help “shape” the delivery of the funding.
"We'll make sure that oversight group has a significant membership from communities impacted by historic slavery. And we want as the church commissioners to work with that group, on helping to shape and deliver the response and agree the final terms of how that financial commitment will be invested," Mostyn continued.
The Archbishop of Canterbury, Most Reverend Justin Welby, who is also Chair of the Church Commissioners, said:
“The full report lays bare the links of the Church Commissioners’ predecessor fund with transatlantic chattel slavery. I am deeply sorry for these links.
It is now time to take action to address our shameful past. Only by obeying the command in 1 John 1:6-7 and addressing our past transparently can we take the path that Jesus Christ calls us to walk and face our present and future with integrity.
“It is hard to do this at a time when resources in many parishes are so stretched, but by acting rightly, we open ourselves to the blessing of God.”