UK church group issues apology for slavery, Pledges parcels of land to the most vulnerable


THE United Reformed Church in the United Kingdom on Sunday issued a solemn apology to Jamaica, the Caribbean, and Africa for its role in the transatlantic slave trade, regarded by many as the greatest crime against humanity.

The apology was accompanied by a pledge from The United Church in Jamaica and the Cayman Islands to give parcels of land it had received from those who profited from slavery to the most vulnerable.

During an ecumenical service held under the theme: ‘Reparation, A Journey Towards Repentance, Repair and Reconciliation’ at Webster Memorial Church in St Andrew, the UK church group acknowledged the harrowing legacy of slavery — that subjected millions of men, women and children to backbreaking labour, violence, and dehumanisation — and expressed regret for the actions of their ancestors.

The apology was read by Reverend Tessa Robinson, moderator of The United Reformed Church UK and accepted by Rev Gary Harriott, moderator of The United Church in Jamaica and the Cayman Islands.

Robinson said that the apology is rooted in the gospel that calls on sinners to repent of what has been done in the past and to be reconciled.

“We, the general assembly of The United Reformed Church, mindful of our own history and that of our antecedent bodies, apologise for our role in transatlantic slavery and the scars that continue to blight our society, our church, and the lives of black people in our midsts and around the globe today. We have heard the pain of sisters and brothers who have been hurt and are still being hurt by these legacies, including the continuing scourge of racism,” the apology read.

The United Reformed Church comprises various denominations across England, Scotland, and Wales who benefited financially from the slavery through donations.

In its apology the church acknowledged its “share in and benefit from our nation’s participation and that of some of our own antecedent bodies in transatlantic slavery”.

“We recognise our failure to honour the efforts of our abolitionist forebears by permitting the legacies of transatlantic slavery to continue shaping our word. We offer our apology to God and to our sisters and brothers in Africa, the Caribbean, and their descendants for all that has created and still perpetuates such deep hurt which originated from the horror of slavery. We repent of the hurt we have caused, our reluctance to face up to the sins of the past, and our silence in the face of racism and injustice today,” the apology continued.

It further made a commitment to find constructive ways to move from saying ‘I’m sorry’ into concrete actions of repairing justice.

Reverend Harriott, in accepting the apology, said that the scars of the “barbaric” history of slavery continue to haunt the descendants of the enslaved, noting that much of our policies and economic state are shaped by the legacies of slavery.

“I stand in a posture of thanksgiving to God to receive the apology of our sisters and brothers from The United Reformed Church UK for the complicity of their forefathers and ‘foremothers’ in the enslavement of other human beings,” said Harriott.

“We stand grateful because this ecumenical service of worship represents a sign of resurrection, a sign of hope,” he said, adding that he rejoices that the church has found the courage to acknowledge its wrongdoings.

“It is our prayer that those who have been dehumanised over centuries and those who continue to experience the impact of enslavement will be equally courageous, inspired by the spirit of God, to share in the journey demanding justice and affirming peace. This is resurrection, this is hope,” he said.

Harriott reiterated The United Church in Jamaica and the Cayman Islands’ pledge to give parcels of land to the most vulnerable, adding that “landlessness has significantly hindered formerly enslaved people in their drive towards generational creation”.

He invited other members of the faith locally and regionally, as well as governments of the region, to offer reparation.

In January last year the Church of England apologised for its historical ties to slavery. The apology followed the revelation that the organisation benefited from donations from a fund dating back to Queen Anne in 1704 intended to help the poorest clergy. The fund was invested in the South Sea Company, which traded in African slaves.

The organisation also pledged to support communities affected by slavery with a £100-million (US$127 million) investment over nine years. However, experts advising the church on the initiative have recommended a new target of £1 billion.

According to a report launched at The University of the West Indies, Mona, last year June, England owes the descendants of the enslaved in 31 countries in the Caribbean, Central America and North America US$24 trillion, of which US$9.5 trillion is said to be owed to Jamaica.

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  2. We need more than a fake apology from the church industry who made billions of dollars off slavery. Without the churches funding then slavery would never existed to the point it has. The churches were the ones who funded the ships and gave approval for the ships to sail. It’s a true shame how the reparation committee never placed pressure on the churches to do right and give back what is owed to Africans and African Caribbean people who suffered from the impact of slavery. Anyone who read about slavery and African history would know the facts, but people who operate the reparation committee are afraid of facts, they should be ashamed of not holding the churches accountable for their dirty deeds.

  3. Just hear the write if this article.” Regarded by many as a great crime against humanity” but that same writer wouldn’t hesitate to exclaimed the Holocaust word in reference to Caucasians, do you see the harvested brain here to be a functionary of white hegemony.

  4. To me you know, we need our minds liberated, from their bible , their education curriculum and then liberation will start, we would then be engaged in technology and not theology, so we will build space ship like other nation and use the resources under the soil to manufacture and export instead of being their consumer, cut back on all this religious global corporation that has been extracting the wealth from our people leaving them in poverty while promising them a piece of land in the sky with streets of gold when in fact it’s our former colonial thieves that has street of gold like las Vegas strip, ours are mudded road, I end here because no end in sight to the injustice.

  5. It was nice of that church to apologize. I personally don’t hold persons alive today as guilty for the sins of ancestors, but, of course, if persons are profiting from the sins of the past then it would be just to try to help those who are suffering because of those same sins. So, some reparations makes sense, I guess, although I don’t really care much for any blood money profits from my ancestors’ labour. But, reparations might be useful mainly to help persons who are caught up in anger about the past find peace. I feel that focusing too much on the past is a distraction from moving forward and repairing our society today. People seem confused/conflicted. They want all the advances and technologies of the Western world but at the same time want to “liberate” themselves from Western thoughts and practices, even the good parts. No society is completely good or completely evil. So, people should be careful about rejecting everything even things that are good for them just because of whose idea or discovery or practice it is. People should also be careful about blindly following every practice from people who look like them. At this point in history, we should look at all the societies from the past and learn from them, following whatever is good/beneficial and rejecting whatever is bad/harmful.

  6. Again, yet again, the Church of England and their subsidiaries, the Vatican and #S’him Subsidiaries are the ones which these fake m, quasi REPARATIONS MOVEMENTS are supposed to be going after, in the Courts, to collect billions of dollars for their atrocities regarding the TransAtlantic Slave Trade out of Africa.
    They should be made to give up the names and organizations in Africa who were apart of their network, so that those on the African continent #WHO’RE responsible as well, can pay for their deeds.

    These Quasi Reparation Organizations MUST use the precedent set, by the dozens of lawsuits which were brought against the Vatican and CATHOLICISM, for abuse of children and others too, which the Vatican lost and are still paying out hundreds of millions in fines.

    The next thing which these churches out of Europe MUST apologize and just to descendants of African slaves, but the entire HUEman race which they fooled about the true nature, of the Essence of Nature’s ether, what many references as ‘god,’ with a thousand names and likeness to fit each one’s agenda.

    All religions are born from the same root, just different branches of the same tree; as in, The_TREE_of_CONTROL!

    The People deserve more than apologies. They deserve, the TRUTH of their #ROOTS!

    Jumbee_Picknee aka Ras Smood
    De’ole Dutty Peg🦶🏿Garrat_Bastard

    Vere C. Edwards

  7. Before all this, I demand reparations from my “brothers and sisters” who enslaved us and sold us to the foreigners while raping and pillaging our villages. Black people made slaves of their own black people.

    Our own black people sold us as slaves and we need to start with them first before any country.

    Fast forward, our own govt selling us out to foreign nations such as China. When the loans can’t be paid off, China will take our lands as payment for the loans the govt has taken out. The govt, our own people, is once again selling us out to foreign countries.

    They say history repeats itself and this is no exception. We still haven’t learned a thing over the centuries.

    • @Reparations from our own people first…

      While, they may not be considered “reparations” from our own people at the time, there are several “Land Grants” which African States offered, to FREE SLAVES, a by product of the Triangular Slave Trade.
      You must, apprise yourself and others who make the same argument which you are making, which is simply a deflection from the real cause[s], of the Triangular Slave Trade out of Africa beginning about the late 15th Century.

      1…The Spanish Inquisition under, the auspices of the Vatican then the Church of England were the main culprits. As to who’re their subsidiaries[Arabs, other African Groups] on the African Continent, at the Slave Trade would be difficult to ascertain, due to sealed court records, sealed ships/captain logs, sealed Church documents etc. So, yes! Those Africans responsible MUST and should be included in the fight for reparations.

      2…Now, with that said, you would, or should know, that several African States from as early as 1820, offered FREED SLAVES and their descendants in the Americas and the Caribbean LAND GRANTS, to return to Africa and assist with its development.
      One such LAND GRANT was used to establish LIBERIA and with the help of The American Colonization Society, made it not only a colony for FREED AFRICANS, but it gained its INDEPENDENCE, in July of 1847. Of course, the same Colonial Masters and their henchmen stop and stoop to no level to destroy it!
      It has survived and is relatively peaceful and thriving today!

      3…The EWF – Ethiopian World Federation received a similar LAND GRANT in 1948 from Emperor Haile Selassie I, for repatriation to Ethiopia.
      The RASTAFARI MOVEMENT mostly took advantage of this LAND GRANT, and developed SHASHAMANE which began to thrive after several setbacks and conflicts with the OROMO People. Despite these setbacks, SHASHAMANE is still thriving with school, hospital and other businesses.

      4…GHANA have always welcomed returning people of African descent. So much so, there’s a #Jamaica_In_Ghana, and your Ghanaian Citizenship is assured!

      5…Kenya even Egypt offered Descendants of the Triangular Slave Trade, a place to call home.

      Again, while these LAND GRANTS and resettlements on the African Continent may not be ‘technically’ considered REPARATIONS for the deeds of those AFRICANS who conspired with the EUROPEANS, as you may now realize, many on the African Continent stretch forth their hands to assist those, who were desirable of returning to Africa.

      Today, several of the Worlds fastest growing economies are on the African Continent. What does this say?
      [Rhetorically], it says the PROPOGANDA sold to Us, of African descent and even those still living on the African Continent has FAILED.
      The MEDIA will not announce nor promote this, since, it’s not in the best interest of their handlers, the MEDIUM[S], but just like the HELA CELLS of Henrietta Lacks which are still finding cures for other ethnic groups/races, even though her physical body is no longer present in its entirety, we have what HUEmanity cannot exist without MELANIN. This is what those who oppose REPARATIONS fear. It’s not the money, not the cost of REPARATIONS. PERIOD!
      It’s the fact, that given the opportunity which is already here, in this dispensation, those goddamn AFRICANS 🤣will herd us up, drive us to our hell holes, and blast the entrance shut.

      Again, these QUASI REPARATION MOVEMENTS are. nothing but #fronts for their Colonial Masters, the Church; and, until they use such precedent[s], set in many jurisdictions and go after the Churches which have already been found GUILTY, as charged; they’re just a bag of flatulent marketers.
      The Churches are trying desperately, to pay up on their Court Ordered Santions, so that the DOCKETS can be sealed, leaving many out in the cold once again, to reinvent the wheel.

      Jumbee_Picknee aka Ras Smood
      De’ole Dutty Peg🦶🏿Garrat_Bastard

      Vere C. Edwards

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