‘The Fund for Healing, Repair and Justice’: a discussion

John Root writes: By a macabre coincidence the Church of England is simultaneously engaged in debates about safeguarding and the victims of abuse, and responses to its involvement in slavery in the Caribbean. Both issues raise two questions: how are we to make some assessment of the damage done under the aegis of the Church of England, and of what might constitute an adequate response to the evils we have been guilty of. Inevitably over both issues there are questions of how do we estimate the seriousness of the evils involved, within the wider context of the evils that humans constantly inflict on each other; and how can we possibly shape an adequate reparations for past evils that have enduring present consequences.

Here I limit myself to the discussion of the Church of England’s response to our involvement in slavery.

1. How much damage was done?

As regards the direct damage, it is reckoned that the money that the Church invested led to the transportation of 34,000 enslaved Africans. That is only a very small slice (roughly 0.25%, or 1 in 400) of the estimated 12.5 million Africans transported. But it indicates that the Church of England willingly subscribed to the heinous trade, that for well over a century it didn’t use its authority in the nation to oppose or condemn it, and that in the Caribbean the Church of England was an uncritical pillar of the slave owning establishments ot the various islands. It is arguable, then, that the Church was guilty not only actively but, perhaps more seriously, passively guilty for the occurrence of this evil.

This damage was directly physical—the number of people who died during the appalling conditions of the Middle Passage, the brutality and wanton rape and torture that slave-holders were capable of, the unrelenting and unrewarded centuries of harsh labour. But more seriously, and underlying Bishop Rosemarie Mallet’s reference to the ‘enduring evils’ of slavery, is its impact on the psychology and cultural, linguistic and religious heritage of the victims, compacted by the racial arrogance of their oppressors. The slavery that the Church of England was partially involved in and was broadly implicated by was of special character, not only was it exceptionally brutal but it was distinguished—unlike most historical examples of slavery—as being demarcated entirely by race. 

Once this is established, a number of surrounding arguments become irrelevant. It is no defence to argue for the historical ubiquity of slavery, nor that (contrary to some ahistorical notions of the slaves being ‘kidnapped’) they were very largely sold as slaves by fellow Africans. This was a crime against humanity committed by the British, and only rarely was a Christian moral conscience raised against it. Conversely debate over the role of slavery in Britain’s economic take off in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries (which this Report gets involved in) are irrelevant. Regardless of disputed economic outcomes, the slave trade and enslavement were appalling moral evils. (By contrast, the Holocaust was most probably economically and militarily damaging to Germany).

NB: see the Additional Note below for evidence of whether the Church of England did indeed profit from this investment in the slave trade.

2. What is an appropriate moral response to the evil committed and the harm done?

As with safeguarding issues and past abuse, any attempt to ascribe a financial sum is arbitrary. Too small amount is demeaning and insulting to the victim, yet the upper limit is potentially boundless since the original harm has not primarily been financial, is chiefly experienced in psychological and experiential terms, and can never be adequately repaired. Arguably therefore no figure is ever enough. However, the Church Commissioners figure of £100 million is a sufficiently large amount to show that the Church intends to be serious about its repentance, especially when conjoined with not only with a public apology, but also with ongoing policies marked by a humbled respect and practical commitment to the well-being of the enslaved descendants. But as suggested above, whether or not all this is deemed sufficient can never be objectively determined, and responses may be determined by personal experiences and personality and by political stance rather than by any universally agreed standard.

3. So what to make of the Oversight Group’s Recommendations?

In its introductory document the Group is seen to be carrying out the Church Commissioners ‘report on its historic links to African chattel enslavement’ and ‘proposed fund to address a legacy of racialised inequality’, but we then get a very early warning that what is to follow is a very considerable inflation of the Commissioners’ intentions since the ‘legacy of racialised inequality’ that we are thinking of ‘scars the lives of billions to this day’—that is, a figure considerably in excess of the descendants of the Transatlantic slave trade. In fact ‘billions’ is a greater figure than the world’s entire ‘black’ population. The Oversight Group, then, is taking us into territory that the Church Commissioners’ original report never envisaged.

The American sociologist Rob Henderson has coined the term ‘luxury beliefs’ for those beliefs that mark you out as a member of a forward-thinking, well-informed progressive member of an elite, but which actually cost you nothing to implement. Earlier the economist Nassim Nicholas Taleb implemented the phrase ‘Skin in the Game’ to identify those whose career depended on the outcome of their decisions over against those who suffered no loss of finance or status if they made bad or foolish decisions. With the Oversight Group there is no ‘skin in the game’, rather they are able to hold ‘luxury beliefs’. They have the delicious task of spending other people’s money, and, as we have seen, no objective restraint on their intention to extend the scale of the Church’s response. As a result their report inflates the original Church Commissioners report in several directions.

Before going into detail, the inflation can be summarised in four stages (the first three follow each other logically, the fourth stands on its own): 

  • financial: the Church Commissioners contribution is to be increased, and added to considerably from other sources;
  • geographical: the remit is extended from areas impacted by chattel slavery to all ‘Black communities’;
  • intentional: rather than seeking to alleviate the continuing impact of slavery much more wide-ranging economic change is intended;
  • theological: there needs to be a retrieval of traditional belief systems alongside faith in Christ.

a Financial

The initial proposal was for the Church Commissioners to invest £100 million of seed capital, but this deemed ‘an inadequate financial contribution’ (§ 41), and is to be ‘re-evaluated and expanded’ (§ 9). The new proposal is for £1bn plus, which includes ‘a larger allocation from the Commissioners themselves’ (Recommendations, §8), and that ‘the Church Commissioners separately cover the operating expenses of the fund, including the impact assessment team, at cost without deductions from the £100m in starting assets or the imposition of a management fee’. Further the Commissioners’ real estate portfolio should give ‘below market leases to black businesses’ (§ 41c). Since, as we have seen, there is no objective financial basis on which the Church’s original moral responsibility can be based, then all figures are ultimately plucked out of the air, opening the door to a ‘Father Christmas list’ of ever greater claims. How at any point can the Church Commissioners say ‘Stop’ without being vulnerable to allegations of hard-hearted, seared-conscience racism?

Beyond the amount from the Church Commissioners, the Oversight Group now hopes to raise money from other charitable and financial sources with a target of £1 billion, though it hopes to go beyond that. The reason, as we shall see below, is that its horizons have expanded far beyond the Commissioners original intentions

b Geographical

The original fund was for ‘communities damaged by African chattel enslavement’s legacy of racism and disadvantage’. Clearly this identifies the Americas; in our context, the islands of the British Caribbean, and the descendants of those who have migrated away, particularly to Britain. So, a fairly clear geographical focus on areas of need. But the Oversight Group are considerably more ambitious. The introduction to the Recommendations refers to ‘the barriers to economic and social equality most keenly felt by Black communities today’. Which undefined ‘Black communities’? Trenchtown in Jamaica certainly. Parts of urban Britain, possibly; though the African Caribbean population is so increasingly dispersed that specific geographical communities are getting ever harder to identify. (My nearby and once notorious Broadwater Farm estate can now no longer be termed ‘Black’). Rather ‘Black’ now clearly extends to the whole of Africa, including those parts in no way affected by Transatlantic slavery. Thus the Questionnaire which yielded ‘Key Insights and Findings’ had 100 respondents in Kenya, but only 12 each from Nigeria and Ghana. There were just 15 from Jamaica—surely a prime focus for the original intention, but 47 from the more prosperous Trinidad and Tobago. The £1bn to be raised will now go outside a far wider area than just those impacted by ‘African chattel enslavement’. Remember, the original justification of this fund was the investment three hundred years ago by the Queen Anne’s Bounty in the South Sea Company, which included trading in slaves as one of its activities. The Church Commissioners response to the Oversight Group now refers to ‘impacted groups’, but if , say, Kenya is in that group then one really does have to wonder where their limits lie.

Lying behind the geographical inflation is an important conceptual shift—the Oversight Group has extended its focus from slavery to colonialism, therefore its Programme Committee will address ‘the persistent legacies and traumas resulting from African chattel enslavement and colonialism’ (§ 23). Whilst the two are often bracketed together like this in reality the differences are substantial. It is virtually impossible to make a moral defence of slavery, especially as it occurred in the Caribbean. But the outcomes of colonialism are subject to serious debate. In particular, attention needs to be given to the pre-colonial and post-colonial trajectories of very different colonised areas, as well as the widely different experiences of colonialism itself. But the Oversight Group includes in its remit not just areas facing the legacy of slavery, but also societies impacted by colonialism, certainly all of Africa.

It is on this basis that its report freely uses the dangerously imprecise term ‘Black communities’. It is, firstly, implicitly racist—no one could use the term ‘White communities’ without realising they were talking nonsense. The differences of outcome in Britain between African Caribbean and Black African populations are marked; for example 16 out of 10,000 of pupils in the former group suffer school exclusions as opposed to only 5 in the latter group. Throughout the Report is the simplistic and unexamined assumption that all disadvantages of what of black people have their source in white racism, when the disparities between black groups, and even more with other ethnic minorities, can only be understood as stemming in part from the internal behaviour patterns within those groups, not least in terms of paternal involvement.

Indeed the raison d’etre of the Fund in the first place was the very distinctive disadvantages that come as the legacy of enslavement, rather than simply being ‘black’. Agglomerating a single, unified ‘Black community’ undermines that very point. Rather its usage is too often to corral all black people to line up behind a specific socio-political outlook and agenda, when the reality is that, as Tomiwa Owolade observes of his fellow black people ‘We are barely a we’ (in ‘This is Not America’, p 28).

One possible result of this shifted focus is that we could have the bizarre prospect of the descendants of those West African rulers who profited from selling their fellow Africans to white slave traders now benefitting from a fund that compensates them for the evil activities of their forbears.

c Intentional

The Church Commissioners original intentions were simple. The money was to be used to benefit those whose lives and communities bore the continuing scars of enslavement. But the expansion of the geography is required by their diagnosis of the need and means of change. So they write:

Acknowledging the state of global racial inequality largely linked to African chattel enslavement, we recommend viewing this fund as part of a wider systems change (§ 8).

Whilst the placing of slavery as a major cause of global racial inequality is historically tendentious, the quotation makes clear that the fund is to be committed to ‘wider systems of change’ not just alleviating the local impacts of enslavement. So they are concerned to address ‘global challenges facing people of African descent’ (§ 6). They do indeed have a ‘paradigm shifting ambition’ (§ 7)! Understandably the £100 million is insufficient for such an enormous task, given that ‘it will require patient effort spanning generations to address’ (Introductory Document).

One further deflection away from the Fund’s original intentions is that whilst it was intended to particularly benefit the disadvantaged now the proposals’ beneficial outcomes will—at least in the first instance—‘create jobs among Black professionals’ (§ 16), unlock ‘access to capital for Black entrepreneurs’ (§ 20a), and ‘build Black-led venture partner networks (§ 40). ‘Preferential Policies’ typically have benefitted the more prosperous and successful in the target group, rather than the most disadvantaged (see Thomas Sowell’s book of that name, 1990), though it has not usually been expressed as nakedly as here. Presumably the assumption is that the benefits will eventually trickle down to the poor: an assumption history has not been kind to.

The shift of intention is the major outcome of the proposals. It therefore needs asking: how competent is this group to argue for and take forward the change from essentially ameliorative proposals to reduce the Americas-based suffering of post-Emancipation black people to instead seeking to impact and change the global economy? The group doesn’t contain a professional academic economist. Its focus may well be shaped by having three people who work in Investments, plus a ‘writer and financial commentator’, the others have only soft links to global economics. Nor do all of them or their employers all have track records free of controversy. It is not a group that should give confidence in steering the Church of England through a major and costly economic programme.

d Theological

The Church Commissioners saw their task as simply an attempt, basically a financial gesture, to recognise and do something to put right the evil consequences of slavery. The Oversight Group wants to go very much further. Despite past apologies for its racism and involvement with enslavement the Church is ‘to apologise publicly for denying that Black Africans are made in the image of God’ (§ 32) although no evidence is presented that it ever did so. The apology extends further to ‘seeking to destroy diverse African traditional belief systems’, though conversion to Christianity always involves a change of belief system. ‘We bring you good news that you should turn from these worthless things to the living God’ Paul told pagans of Lystra (Acts 14:15). He confronted the Athenians with the claim: ‘While God has overlooked the times of human ignorance, now he commands all people everywhere to repent’ (Acts 17:30). In this way did my Anglo-Saxon forbears abandon belief in Thor and Woden at the preaching of Augustine of Canterbury and his successors. 

But here we have the incoherent suggestion that the ‘enslaved’ (meaning who?) ‘discover the varied belief systems and spiritual practices of their forebears and their efficacy’. Were African Christians consulted on this? The only Group member with an African name is a ‘Jurisconsult and Scholar-Activist’. So again, a simple desire to give a financial basis to repentance for involvement in slavery is here unilaterally inflated by a small group with but three theologically educated members into a major reorientation, and arguably repudiation, of the Church’s missionary basis.

However, the Group is on more solid ground when it steps back from a vague and modish religious relativism to get closer to Caribbean realities and seek for a ‘workstream’ that would unpack the theological and spiritual violence caused by African chattel enslavement and the role of the Church in this process’ (§ 34). But is that not the remit of the Archbishops’ Commission on Racial Justice?


There are aspects of the Church of England’s past that certainly should make us feel guilty about racism. But, as this review has indicated, it is a concept that inflates easily without careful scrutiny. Yes, investing in the South Sea Company was wrong. Yes, there has been a much longer history of racial arrogance and disrespect for other ethnic groups. And so, apologies, repentance and restorative initiatives all have their place. But ultimately acting solely out of a sense of guilt will lead to inappropriate responses, especially when the Oversight Group at every turn has put the worst possible emphasis on events – as with the simplification, ridiculous if allowed to stand unqualified, that the Church has been ‘denying that Black Africans are made in the image of God’ (§ 32). Is that really a sensible and balanced evaluation of the whole history?

The Church of England’s earnestness to do the right thing is at present in full flood. It can lead to an unwillingness to question the judgements or the narratives that are put forward by black people. It can especially mean that it patronisingly assumes that black people (the ‘Black community’) speak with one voice, usually hearing the loudest and most dramatic voices, but very often not quieter, wiser or dissenting voices. In the United States intellectuals such as Glenn Loury, professor of Social Sciences and Economics at Brown University, have questioned the ‘bias narrative’ as the sole explanation of black disadvantage. In Britain Dr Tony Sewell’s book ‘Black Success’ is coming out this week which is billed as ‘essential reading not only for black Britons who are fed up with a narrative that denies them agency and responsibility, but also for anyone who wants a balanced perspective on race relations in Britain today’. 

By contrast, the Oversight Group’s augmenting the grievance narrative so that all black disadvantage can be laid at the door of white, racist behaviour may be effective in pressuring the Church Commissioners to increase, widen and extend their original response. But that earlier intent to ‘invest in a better, fairer future for all, particularly communities affected by historic slavery’ is a modest and realisable programme. In now accepting a very much wider remit it has taken onboard guilt-driven obligations from a group with inadequate experience and expertise, and are extending their reach far beyond their proper responsibilities. 

John Root was a curate in Harlesden, led an estate church plant in Hackney, planted two Asian language congregations in Wembley, before enjoying retirement ministry in Tottenham.

This article was first published at John’s substack here.

See also the related articles by John on this blog:

A review of Nigel Biggar’s book Colonialism: a moral reckoning

An evaluation of Was European colonialism a good thing or a bad thing?

Additional note: John offers some helpful challenges to the report of the Oversight group, on the basis that the financial basis of the initial concern (that the Queen Anne’s Bounty had profited from investment in slave trading) was correct. However, it appears that even this foundational claim is untrue.

This week the Daily Telegraph published the following letter:

We can all agree that the Atlantic slave trade was abhorrent. We also know that the South Sea Company engaged actively in this grisly business following its award of the notorious Spanish “asiento de negros” contract in 1713 (“Church of England’s fund has lessons for investors”, Opinion, March 5). However, it is surely a mistake to bounce the Church of England into a huge reparations commitment on the grounds that it profited from this trade.

The South Sea Company made only losses from its slaving operations as detailed by Adam Anderson, clerk to the company, in his history published in 1764. Furthermore it was the shareholders of the company who stood to make gains or losses from the company’s commercial activities. The Church’s investment returns from its large portfolio of South Sea Company annuities were in the form of interest passed on from the company’s holdings of government bonds. This revenue stream had nothing to do with the slave trade. By all means call for reparations but not on the basis of flawed economic history.

Richard Dale. Author, ‘The First Crash: Lessons from the South Sea Bubble’. Emeritus Professor, Southampton University, UK

The Grant Thornton report concludes that, in the year (1739) in which the SSC ceased to invest in trading slaves, the value of the QAB’s investment in the SSC was £204,000.  This sum equates to £443 million in today’s money, which was reported in January 2023. The Church Commissioners have argued that this is the extent of the Church’s profiteering from the transatlantic slave trade. However, abhorrent as slave trading was, the SSC made losses and not profits from its investment in it; where the SSC did make money over the relevant period was from its holdings in government bonds. So the £443m that has been identified arose from Government bonds, and not profit from the slave trade. Thus the initial reason for commissioning the Oversight group at all appears to have been a mistake.

Secondly, John rightly notes that the Church of England in the 18th Century was complicit in the heinous slave trade, and was slow to challenge it. Alongside that, we need to note that there were some prominent voices expressing opposition. John Wesley openly opposed the slave trade, speaking against it from the 1770s (see this assessment of his opposition). Beilby Porteus, who was Bishop of Chester from 1777 and Bishop of London from 1787, was a passionate abolitionist. In 1783 he preached at an Anniversary Service of the SPG and used it to criticise the Church of England’s approach and the treatment of slaves in the Caribbean.

And former naval officer Lewis Page points out the key role that Britain played (encouraged by leaders in the Church of England) in campaigning against and ending the slave trade globally.

King Gezo, ruler of Dahomey from 1818 to 1859, enslaved huge numbers of Africans and built an economy based on selling them to the Atlantic traders. The forced marches in which slaves were moved to the coast by Gezo and other African rulers were often as deadly as the Middle Passage itself. Things could always be worse, however: Dahomey also had a tradition of religious human sacrifice.

By the time Gezo was on the throne of Dahomey the slave trade was still very lucrative, with willing buyers across the Atlantic and many northern nations still willing to carry the trade. But one nation in particular had changed its ideas on slavery: that nation was Britain. British slave traders had been in the triangle trade along with Americans and Europeans for around 250 years. But now, not only did this become illegal for Brits, but the Royal Navy – then the most powerful navy in the world – began making active efforts to suppress the African slave trade altogether.

This was an almost unbelievably surprising and forceful move in the context of the time. A few other nations had declared slavery illegal in places where there was no slavery, it is true. This had long been decided in England by the Somerset v Stewart court case of 1772, following which slave owners stopped bringing slaves onto English territory – it was generally considered that this automatically made them free.

No other nation, however, then went on to say that the very slave trade itself should be outlawed and wiped out, and went still further to back its words with deeds…

Britain was unique in her effort and sacrifices made to end the trade, and the movement to end the trade came to power here first. Effective action by Britain against the trade actually began while we were still engaged in a desperate, all-out global struggle to the death against Continental dictatorship. A struggle fought, again, often alone…

When the terms ‘British history’ and ‘slavery’ are linked, then, this is not only grounds for shame, but also for pride: pride such as no other nation can claim.

There is no other nation on Earth, not in Europe, not in Africa or Arabia, not in North or South America, with as little cause to apologise as Britain for its history with and around slavery.

When I was in debate with Jarel Robinson-Brown on BBC 1’s ‘Sunday Live’ show, he quipped: ‘If you set a house on fire, then put it out, you shouldn’t get credit for putting it out’. But that, of course, is not an apt metaphor. Rather, we should note: many houses were on fire, and had been on fire since ancient times. When Britain (largely led by the Church of England, and in particular evangelical voices within and without) came to their senses, not only did they put their own fire out, but they then spent considerable time, money and energy (and lives of their sailors) putting out the fires in all the other houses around the world. That does, indeed, merit some credit, and undermines many of the arguments presented by the Oversight group of the Commissioners.

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277 thoughts on “‘The Fund for Healing, Repair and Justice’: a discussion”

    • Let’s purchase an island in the Caribbean with the money earmarked for reparations and devote all the bishops to it. The CxE gets the benefit of a new start and the Caribbean gets a lot of middle managers . With a nod to Douglas Adam’s approach to problem solving.

    • Let’s purchase an island in the Caribbean with the money earmarked for reparations and devote all the bishops to it. The CxE gets the benefit of a new start and the Caribbean gets a lot of middle managers . With a nod to Douglas Adam’s approach to problem solving.
      Posted his twice, sorry

  1. Ian,

    I and my family are members of the Church of England. We do not espouse “separate but equal” between the races.

    Nobody I know espouses that.

    I have been attending C of E Churches for forty years. I have never heard a single sermon that espoused “separate but equal” between the races. Not a single sentence in a single sermon over forty years.

    Please stop trivialising what I am saying

  2. David,

    Reference yours of 10.55 am.

    1. Why is an American Civil Rights case and the judgement of their Supreme Court of any relevance at all to the matter ???

    2. It really is a bit of a stretch to put espousing separate but equal church congregations in the same bracket as separate toilet facilities for male and female.

    3. Would you acknowledge that people are entitled to be offended by the assertion that they espouse “separate but equal” church congregations – just as you were offended by the claim you are influenced by American racial conflict theories ?

    4. Is it essential to your argument that you assert espousal ? It seems to me your case is not materially different if you simply assert observed homogeneity – in which case why not just withdraw the claim of espousal and win the jury anyway ??


    • Peter,

      1. The Civil Rights case is relevant to my point that ‘separate but equal’ is only discriminatory if
      it can be proved that there are no legitimate reasons for it and that its effect is detrimental. If that can’t be proved, then ‘separate but equal’ is not racist.
      2. The example of providing male and female bathroom facilities demonstrates that, absent proof of detriment or unreasonable purpose, ‘separate but equal’ is not considered discriminatory.
      3. Given the foregoing, unless people believe (and can prove) that there are no legitimate reasons for the overall racial homogeneity in CofE churches and that such homogeneity is detrimental to non-white people, they are not entitled to be offended by my mention of the “de facto ‘separate but equal’ position on race that is espoused by the majority of CofE”. members.
      4. Your statement about my comment removed the key qualification: de facto. There is nothing intentional about a majority of CofE members adopting a de facto ‘separate but equal’ position on race.

      Those who believe that there are legitimate historical and social reasons for the racial homogeneity in the CofE and believe that such homogeneity is not to the detriment of non-white people cannot declare that my comment to be an accusation of racial discrimination.

      • David,

        Your final paragraph just does not make sense.

        You cannot make the validity of a complaint contingent on what the complainant does or does not believe.

        Bad people can make a complaint which is valid regardless of the complainant’s reprehensible views !

        O your de facto point. Your original assertion was contradictory given the rendering of de facto which you have clarified. Espousal is unavoidably intentional.

        • @HJ,

          Firstly, thanks for your thoughtful engagement with my comments.

          Your 2:25pm comment stood out (viz. “I’m not sure just what can be done about your assertion there is a “practical inertia of CofE churches in relation to their overall racial homogeneity.” Just what should these churches do?”)
          because it has provoked me to consider that a significant number of CofE members might want to change the racial homogeneity of their churches, but genuinely have no clue about how go about doing that.

          On that basis, the word “espoused” probably conveys my own experiences and pessimism about that kind of change happening the CofE.

          Having left the CofE several years ago, I’m far more optimistic about the white-majority leadership of many newer evangelical church networks (including the one to which I now belong) which has been able to provide a spiritual home for a significantly higher proportion of minority ethnic Christians than the CofE ever has.

          • David,

            Just wanted to wish you well also. I am glad your engagement with this topic has ended on a more irenic note.

            I am not sure your decision to bring the Third Reich into the discussion helped matters, if I can end with that word of advice !

            All the best

          • David,
            If I’m correct in this and you a now part of NFI leadership locally, it gladdens the heart: a place where you’ll likely find thorough acceptance encouragement, growth and an expression of your undoubted gifts, an asset to the body of Christ. Perhaps a place of uplands fresh air compared to the CoE.
            I was part of a branch, until medically I was unable to drive and get there.
            Personally, what I haven’t appreciated in our exchanges is being taken back to the law, which is deeply adversarial, which has been long gone in my life: lost to the law, found by our Lord.
            He is to be glorified and enjoyed forever.
            One in Christ,

  3. This is my final comment on this topic, and also on the Blog, which I am sure will not trouble Ian or others.

    We are in reality arguing over the cause of death of the corpse which is the Church of England.

    I have been part of the Church of England for forty years and as with any bereavement one goes through a cycle of emotions – not the least of which is denial and bargaining.

    There is no purpose in reasoning with the ideas that have devoured the Church of England. It has happened. Nothing is going to alter the path that the C of E will now follow.

    It is heart breaking beyond measure, but there is a time to accept the death of those who we have loved and for me, that time is here.

    I wish you all well

  4. David – many thanks for clarifying your position, which makes sense – and I more-or-less agree with it (and bringing in the example of reparations from Germany to Israel was helpful in clarifying the issues). I’d like to take the opportunity to wish you well with your ministry, which I’m enthusiastic about. I hadn’t been aware that you had left the C. of E., but this is probably for the best. Even if the leadership of the C. of E. were wonderful and perfect, there is still a perception (even if it is unfair – but from what you say it may be justified) which might make it difficult for people to receive the Word. Certainly, when large numbers of fishermen came to faith in the North East of Scotland through the Lowestoft revival, it is difficult to see how this would have happened through the Church of Scotland – which was considered to be a preserve of the exploitative middle classes. So, from this point of view, the move may be good so that you can proclaim the Word without the additional baggage that the C. of E. may be perceived as having.


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