Apology for transatlantic slave trade
Posted by Mission Catalyst at 10:29 on 27th May 2010
15 November 2007
The Baptist Union of Great Britain Council, which met this week, has passed a historic resolution apologising for the transatlantic slave trade.
The resolution acknowledged the benefit our nation received from participation in the transatlantic slave trade and said, "We acknowledge that we speak as those who have shared in and suffered from the legacy of slavery. We apologise to God and to our brothers and sisters for all that has created and still perpetuates the hurt which originated from the horror of slavery." The resolution ended with a commitment to take what had been learnt and to share it more widely in the Baptist community.
"Truly a move of God's Spirit"
This statement was seconded by Rev David Kerrigan, BMS Director for Mission, on behalf of BMS World Mission, who said, "This is a special moment in strengthening our relationships with our brothers and sisters who live in, or have roots in, Africa and the Caribbean. The last few days have been characterised by a depth of listening and understanding that was truly a move of God's Spirit. As such it was a privilege to second the motion, and align BMS World Mission completely with the statement approved by the Council."
"Being sorry is not enough"
BMS' General Director Rev Dr Alistair Brown who was attending BWA meetings in Washington, USA, affirmed the apology. "In recent days we have had the opportunity again to listen and respond to our sisters and brothers," he said. "We hurt because they hurt, and we recognise that some of our f were the perpetrators of the wicked evil of slavery. So we must express our deepest sorrow, sadness and shame. But sorry is not enough. As a result this apology comes from the depths of our hearts and is offered not just for the sin of years ago but for every act of prejudice or discrimination that still happens today. At BMS, we are pledged to work to end injustice in today's world, and we will never give up on that."
The full text of the apology reads as follows:
As a Council we have listened to one another, we have heard the pain of hurting sisters and brothers, and we have heard God speaking to us.
In a spirit of weakness, humility and vulnerability, we acknowledge that we are only at the start of a journey, but we are agreed that this must not prevent us speaking and acting at a kairos moment.
Therefore, we acknowledge our share in and benefit from our nation's participation in the transatlantic slave trade.
We acknowledge that we speak as those who have shared in and suffered from the legacy of slavery, and its appalling consequences for God's world.
We offer our apology to God and to our brothers and sisters for all that has created and still perpetuates the hurt which originated from the horror of slavery.
We repent of the hurt we have caused
- the divisions we have created,
- our reluctance to face up to the sin of the - past,
- our unwillingness to listen to the pain of our black sisters and brothers,
- and our silence in the face of racism and injustice today.
We commit ourselves, in a true spirit of repentance, to take what we have learned from God in the Council and to share it widely in our Baptist community and beyond, looking for gospel ways by which we can turn the words and feelings we have expressed today into concrete actions and contribute to the prophetic work of God's coming Kingdom.