The Church of England has set up a £100m fund as part of its apology for past involvement in the Trans-Atlantic slave trade.
The church made the announcement on Tuesday following research that showed that the church’s commissioners through the Queen Anne’s Bounty, a fund established in 1704, invested in the South Sea Company which traded in chattel slavery.
Chattel slavery is enslaving and owning human beings and their offspring, forcing them to work without wages.
In its response to the findings, the church commissioners’ board said it would try to address some of the past wrongs through the fund.
Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury and chair of the church commissioners, said the church would do whatever was necessary even though resources are “stretched”.
“I am deeply sorry for these links to slave trade. It is now time to take action to address our shameful past,” Welby said.
“It is hard to do this at a time when resources in many parishes are so stretched, but by acting rightly we open ourselves to the blessing of God.”
The church said the fund would be delivered over the next nine years and would be dedicated to programmes on investment, research and engagement.
“The church commissioners will also continue to use its voice as a responsible investor to address and combat modern slave trade/slavery and human rights violations, and to seek to address injustice and inequalities,” the statement reads.
The church added that a new oversight group would be formed with “significant membership from communities impacted by historic slavery”.
“This group will work with the church commissioners on shaping and delivering the response, listening widely to ensure this work is done sensitively and with accountability,” the statement added.