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Exhibition: Church of England's Links to Slavery

From a “slave bible” with the passages relating to freedom and escape removed to documents revealing the Church of England’s involvement in a fund linked to transatlantic chattel slavery, a new exhibition lays bare the church’s colonial legacy.

The exhibition of original artefacts, some of which are on display for the first time, in Lambeth Palace Library is the latest step in a wide-ranging programme of work launched in 2019 that aims to “address past wrongs” by researching the church’s historical links to the slave trade.

Chief executive of the Church Commissioners for England, Gareth Mostyn, said the extent of the church’s relationship to slavery uncovered through the research was “shaming”, and described the exhibits as “shocking and upsetting”. “We are deeply sorry,” he said.

He added that the exhibition was an opportunity to show “really impactful documents” unearthed through the church’s research, which aims to “make sure that our history is told and that we’re transparent about what we have learned”.

The exhibition sits alongside a £100m fund which the C of E has said is not compensation or reparations. But the sum has been criticised for falling far short of the estimated £1.3bn profit from investments connected to the slave trade. “No amount of money would ever be enough to repair the damage,” said Mostyn.

Read entire article at The Guardian