Thinking Anglicans

Church Commissioners and historic links to transatlantic chattel slavery

The Church Commissioners have published their full report into historic links that Queen Anne’s Bounty (one of the Commissioners’ predecessors) had to transatlantic chattel slavery*. It can be found here: Church Commissioners Links to Historic Transatlantic Slavery. There is this accompanying press release

Church Commissioners publishes full report into historic links to transatlantic chattel slavery and announces new funding commitment of £100m in response to findings

which starts

The report follows an interim announcement in June 2022, which reported for the first time, and with great dismay, that the Church Commissioners’ endowment had historic links to transatlantic chattel slavery. The endowment traces its origins partly to Queen Anne’s Bounty, a fund established in 1704.

In response to the findings, the Church Commissioners’ Board has committed itself to trying to address some of the past wrongs by investing in a better future. It will seek to do this through committing £100 million of funding, delivered over the next nine years commencing in 2023, to a programme of investment, research and engagement…

* ‘Chattel slavery’ is the enslaving and owning of human beings and their offspring as property, able to be bought, sold, and forced to work without wages. This is distinguished from other systems of forced, unpaid, or low-wage labour also considered to be slavery.

There is also a press release about a related exhibition at Lambeth Palace Library.

Archives revealing Church of England’s links to historic transatlantic slavery to be displayed in new Lambeth Palace Library exhibition

The report has attracted much press attention.

Church Times Church Commissioners to set aside £100 million to compensate for slave-trade links
The Guardian C of E setting up £100m fund to ‘address past wrongs’ of slave trade links
The Guardian C of E’s historic slavery fund – worth £100m but how far will it stretch across communities?
Third Sector Charity’s £100m promise to address ‘shameful’ slave trade links
BBC News Church of England announces £100m fund after slavery links
The Telegraph Justin Welby defends £100m fund to ‘address past wrongs of slavery’ as churches struggle


Bishop of Worcester writes on same-sex relationships

Bishop John Inge has written an open letter to the Diocese, setting out why he believes that the celebration and honouring of monogamous, faithful same-sex relationships by the Church of England would be consonant with the scriptural witness.

The letter begins:

Dear Friends in Christ,

In our recent letter to the clergy of the Diocese of Worcester, the Bishop of Dudley and I wrote that we think the time has come for the Church of England to celebrate and honour monogamous, faithful same-sex relationships. We added that we believe this to be consonant with the scriptural witness but did not set out our reasoning. We merely commended the Bishop of Oxford’s booklet, Living together in Love and Faith.[i] I feel I should summarise my own thinking on the subject and shall attempt to do so here.

The full text of his letter can be read here.


Appointment of Bishop of Blackburn

Updated Wednesday
A number of relevant links have been included in the comments on this article. For convenience I have these listed below the govenrment press release.

Press release from the Prime Minister’s Office. There is more on the diocesan website.

Appointment of Bishop of Blackburn: 10 January 2023

The King has approved the nomination of The Right Reverend Philip North, Suffragan Bishop of Burnley, for election as Bishop of Blackburn.

From: Prime Minister’s Office, 10 Downing Street
Published 10 January 2023

The King has approved the nomination of The Right Reverend Philip North, Suffragan Bishop of Burnley, for election as Bishop of Blackburn, in succession to The Right Reverend Julian Henderson following his retirement.

Philip was educated at the University of York and trained for ministry at St Stephen’s House, Oxford. He served his title at St Mary the Virgin in the Diocese of Durham and was ordained priest in 1993. In 1996 Philip took up the role of Vicar at Holy Trinity and St Mark’s Hartlepool and was also appointed Area Dean of Hartlepool in 2000.

In 2002 Philip was appointed Priest Administrator of the Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham, in the Diocese of Norwich, before being appointed Team Rector of the Parish of Old St Pancras, in the Diocese of London, in 2008.

Philip took up his current role as Bishop of Burnley in 2015.


WATCH The Nomination of The Rt Rev’d Philip North as the next diocesan Bishop of Blackburn
Bishop Philip’s Address at the Cathedral during the announcement of the next Bishop of Blackburn.
Women in Ministry Statement from our new Bishop-Elect of Blackburn
From the Independent Reviewer’s Sheffield Report – Bishop North’s position on the ordination of women
Statement from the Society


Former diocesan registrar sanctioned by Solicitors Regulation Authority

Christopher Peak was the registrar to the Diocese of Gloucester between January 1985 and November 2012. During this period he also represented the then-bishop of Gloucester, Peter Ball, in his personal capacity, when indecent assault allegations were made against the bishop. The Solicitors Regulation Authority, in response to a complaint from the National Secular Society, found this constituted a conflict of interest with his official duties towards the diocese. Mr Peak has accepted their findings, and has agreed to permanently remove his name from the roll of solicitors maintained by the SRA.

The matter is reported in detail as follows:

Solicitors Regulation Authority Christopher Peak

Law Society Gazette Retired solicitor agrees to quit roll over conflict of interest in defending bishop

National Secular Society Solicitor struck off for conflict of interests in defending bishop


Dean of Windsor

Another dean has announced his retirement, in this case the Rt Revd David Conner of St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle. This is not yet on the Chapel’s website, but I have been sent a copy of the current Chapel newsletter which starts with this.

The Dean of Windsor

Bishop David Conner has announced his intention to retire at the end of July 2023, twenty-five years after his appointment as Dean of Windsor.

As Dean he holds the role of Register of the Order of the Garter and was also, from 2001 to 2009, Bishop to the Forces.

David and Jayne Conner will be much missed but, given that July is several months away, there will be plenty of time to give them our heartfelt thanks and wish them a happy retirement.


Dean of Wells

The Very Reverend Doctor John Davies has retired as Dean of Wells. The announcement is here and here.


Opinion – 7 January 2023

Charlie Bell ViaMedia.News Time to Step Up and Take the Heat: Allyship or Cowardice?


Bishop of Wolverhampton

The Bishop of Wolverhampton, the Rt Revd Clive Gregory, has announced that he is to retire in April. He is an area bishop in the diocese of Lichfield.