Church of Scotland set to apologise for historic slavery links

Church of Scotland will apologise for historic links to slavery

  • A consultation will now be held on the wording of the statement

The Church of Scotland is to formally apologise for its historic links to slavery, as it admits elements of its past are now viewed with ‘deep regret’.

Commissioners at the Church’s General Assembly agreed the apology should be made after research showed the connections to the slave trade.

Other recommendations which will be implemented from the Legacies of Slavery report include congregations being encouraged to research the ‘abominable’ trade’s links to their local area and a rejection of racism.

The report, produced by the Faith Impact Forum, also states modern-day racism stems from beliefs used to justify the slave trade before it was abolished in the British empire in the 1830s.

But most church members surveyed did not believe physical features of buildings should be removed if they are linked to slavery and instead should be used to educate congregations.

Rev Karen Hendry said: ”There are aspects of our past, as a Church, that we look on now with deep regret’

A consultation will now be held on the wording of the statement apologising for the slavery links before it is rubber-stamped at a future meeting.

Addressing the Assembly in Edinburgh, Rev Karen Hendry, convener of the Faith Impact Forum, said: ‘There are aspects of our past, as a Church, that we look on now with deep regret.

READ MORE: How the Royal Navy captured a notorious slaveship and used it to FREE 3,000 Africans from captivity in a swashbuckling story from Britain’s imperial past in 1827

‘The Legacies of Slavery report gives substance to such a part of our history. And we seek to humbly acknowledge this and think about how we apologise.

‘This requires further work and preparation. The report helps us better understand the historic relationship between chattel slavery and the Church of Scotland, and the continuing legacy of that abominable practice.

‘We offer this report on the clear understanding the Assembly will want to affirm that we are members of a church that is actively anti-racist.’

The report found some ministers received money from plantations while the Church itself is the custodian of a multi-million-pound fund which can be connected to compensation paid to a family upon the abolition of slavery.

Rev Sandy Horsburgh, minister of St Nicholas Buccleuch in Dalkeith, Midlothian, said: ‘Racism is an ongoing, daily, pernicious legacy of slavery.

‘I commend the authors of this report. You have shone a light on things that were hidden in plain sight, but things which we need to see and understand.’

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