Thinking Anglicans

Church Commissioners report for 2023

The Church Commissioners issued their report for 2023 yesterday alongwith a press release, which is copied below.

Church Commissioners for England endowment fund delivers 4.1% return in 2023

The Church Commissioners for England, which manages the Church of England’s endowment fund, delivered a 4.1% return in 2023, marking the fifteenth year of positive returns, with the fund valued at £10.4bn at the end of 2023.

“Managing the endowment fund in a way that generates sustainable funding to support the mission and ministry of the Church of England, now and for the long-term, is our core purpose – and 2023 was another successful year with that in mind,” said Alan Smith, First Church Estates Commissioner. “In 2023, in addition to paying pensions of £120.6m, we made £223m in charitable expenditure, up 19.4% from £186.8m in 2022, with more than two-thirds of that going towards supporting dioceses and, through them, local churches.”

The in-perpetuity endowment fund delivers long-term financial support for the Church’s ministry, contributing around 20% towards the total annual running costs of the Church of England.

The Church Commissioners has provided the Church with over £3.5bn in funding since 2009, with £1.2bn to be distributed during the current 2023-2025 triennium – a 30% increase on the previous triennium, thanks in large part to the excellent investment returns generated by the Commissioners’ Investment team. The fund has delivered positive returns while building a reputation as a global leader in responsible investment.

The annual report is available for download here.


Reparatory Justice: Oversight Group recommendations

Updated Tuesday

The Fund for Healing, Repair and Justice describes itself this way:

A seed for growth and change

In 2023, the Church Commissioners for England published a report into its historic links to African chattel enslavement. In penitence and hope, the Church Commissioners proposed a fund to address a legacy of racialised inequality that scars the lives of billions to this day.

The Church Commissioners appointed an independent Oversight Group to make their recommendations on how the fund should be used. This group is acutely aware that the crimes against humanity rooted in enslavement have caused damage so vast it will require patient effort spanning generations to address. They believe this fund represents a start to breaking the chains of discrimination.

The Oversight Group has a bold vision for the £100m Fund for Healing, Repair and Justice which they would like to see grow to £1bn and act as a catalyst for real change.

Other recent documents about this:

Church Times: Church Commissioners look for partners to boost reparatory-justice fund to £1 billion


Guardian Harriet Sherwood ‘It’s not a lot when you consider the harm’: Why bishop is calling for £1bn in C of E reparations for slavery (Interview with the Bishop of Croydon)

Archbishop of York We need a conversation about justice (Article in the Sunday Times)


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