The Church of England will investigate possible links to the slave trade with an 18th century donation that has been turned into a £ 9.2 billion investment fund to support parishes and cathedrals across the country.
Queen Anne’s Bounty, a sum of money set aside to increase the income of poor clergy in 1704, could present a “reputational risk,” said the annual report of the Commissioners of the Church, the body that manages the assets of K of E .
The report says: “Long established endowment funds can give rise to reputational risk linked to the possibility that their original source, or early investment of funds, has connections to the slave trade. This could be the case with the original Queen Anne’s Bounty and Commissioners Ecclesiastical funds. “
In 1948, Queen Anne’s Bounty merged with the Church Commissioners to form the Church Commissioners.
Queen Anne invested in the slave trade and owned 22.5% of the shares of the South Sea Company, responsible for the transport of some 64,000 African slaves between 1715 and 1731.
A spokesperson for the Church Commissioners said: “Like many organizations, we are investigating our past and have commissioned an external investigation into the origins of our predecessor bodies, Queen Anne’s Bounty and the Church Commissioners.
“We are doing this work of our own free will to better understand where our funds are coming from and see if our predecessor agencies had ties to or received profits from the historic transatlantic slave trade. That investigation is ongoing. “
The result of the investigation will be published, the spokesperson said.
“With respect to our current funds, we manage them ethically and responsibly, in accordance with our Christian values. This includes holding companies accountable on issues such as racial justice, diversity and modern slavery. “
The C of E is also reviewing thousands of monuments in churches and cathedrals that contain historical references to slavery and colonialism.
The commissioners’ annual report showed a 10.4% return on their investments in 2020, resulting in an increase from £ 500 million to £ 9.2 billion.
The strong performance allowed commissioners to increase their financial support to K of E dioceses, cathedrals and churches during the Covid pandemic, according to the report.
C of E’s revenue has dropped significantly in the past 15 months, as church collections and revenue from tickets to the cathedral, cafes and gift shops have plummeted.
The commissioners and the Council of Archbishops, a C of E charity, provided £ 75 million of cash support, a £ 35 million fund for dioceses and a £ 20 million fund for cathedrals.
Gareth Mostyn, the executive director of the Church Commissioners, said: “We were pleased to be able to… strengthen our support for dioceses, cathedrals and churches during 2020, which was such a difficult year in many ways. The financial support we quickly implemented helped the church weather the sudden and unexpected financial storm. “
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism