Church of England to address shameful past, admits slavery links

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The head of the Church of England’s investment arm, the Church Commissioners, admitted on Wednesday that the Church knew it was investing in the transatlantic slave trade during the 18th century.

The Church has committed £100 million ($121 million) to address the past wrongs of its links to slavery.

The Church Commissioners, who manage the Church’s £10 billion investment portfolio, will use the money for a fund that will invest in communities affected by past slavery, and research and engagement related to its links with slavery.

A report commissioned by the Church found last June that a predecessor of its investment fund, Queen Anne’s Bounty, invested significant amounts in the slave-trading South Sea Company in the 18th century.

“There’s no doubt that those who were making the investment knew that the South Sea Company was trading in enslaved people, and that’s now a source of real shame for us, and for which we apologize,” Gareth Mostyn, chief executive of the Church Commissioners, told BBC radio.

The report relied on research from forensic accountants and academics to analyze early ledgers and other documents from Queen Anne’s Bounty which was merged with another body to form the Church Commissioners in 1948.

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