Church of England's slavery reparations sparks fury from within own ranks - 'We keep being told there's no money!'

Reverend Marcus Walker warned people will be put off donating to the Church

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The Church of England’s decision to set aside £100million to address its past connections to slavery has been slammed by campaign group Save the Parish.

Reverend Marcus Walker, rector at St Bartholomew, told GB News people will be put off donating to the Church as a result of their spending.

He said: “£100 million is a lot of money. We keep hearing that there is no money left.

“Every time churches have closed, financiers have sighed and said ‘we don’t have the money’, as greater priests have mental collapses because they can’t handle the sheer scale of work they have to do.

“The Church of England sighs and says ‘there isn’t the money’,

“And now suddenly, they’ve found £100million down the back of the sofa, to pay for this. You can imagine how I felt.”

A report into the Church of England’s investment fund’s “shameful” historic links to transatlantic slavery has prompted it to announce £100 million of funding for a programme of investment.

The Church Commissioners for England announced the funding commitment on Tuesday, following publication of research it commissioned which details links its predecessor fund, Queen Anne’s Bounty, had with the slave trade.

Reverend Marcus Walker spoke to GB News Philip Davies and Esther McVey.
Reverend Marcus Walker spoke to GB News Philip Davies and Esther McVey.

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, chairman of the Church Commissioners, called the report’s interim findings “a source of shame” in June 2022 and reiterated his apology on Tuesday, saying “it is now time to take action to address our shameful past”.

The £100million funding, to be delivered over the next nine years, will establish an impact investment fund to “invest for a better and fairer future for all, particularly for communities affected by historic slavery”, the Church said.

It added that growth in the impact fund will enable grant funding for projects focused on improving opportunities for communities adversely affected by historic slavery.

Marcus Walker says the spending commitment undermines the church.
Marcus Walker says the spending commitment undermines the church.

It said it will also fund further research, including into the Church Commissioners’ history, to support dioceses, cathedrals and parishes to research and address their historic links with slavery.

An oversight group will be set up this year with “significant membership from communities impacted by historic slavery” to help shape and deliver its response to the report, it added.

The report found that the endowment fund managed by the Church Commissioners has part of its origins in Queen Anne’s Bounty, which was founded in 1704 and had links with transatlantic slavery.

In the 18th century, it “invested significant amounts” of its funds in the South Sea Company, a firm founded in 1711 to refinance England’s national debt which was awarded the monopoly on Britain’s trade of enslaved people to the Spanish Americas.

The report estimates that the South Sea Company transported 34,000 slaves “in crowded, unsanitary, unsafe and inhumane conditions” during its 30 years of operation.