The archbishop of Canterbury has intervened for the second time in a dispute over a contested memorial within the chapel at Jesus College, Cambridge, stating emphatically that “memorials to slave traders do not belong in places of worship”.
Commenting on the authorized battle over a memorial plaque to Tobias Rustat, a Seventeenth-century benefactor who invested in slavery, Justin Welby gave his unequivocal assist to these searching for its removing and urged the Church of England nonetheless had an extended solution to go on its journey in direction of racial justice.
The archbishop’s intervention got here after Jesus College submitted a petition to the native diocese requesting the removing of the memorial from the chapel as a result of its presence was having a unfavorable affect on the mission and ministry of the church.
The faculty stated the plaque can be relocated elsewhere within the faculty the place it will not intrude with worship, however might be studied as an essential historic memorial. Last month, nonetheless, a church court docket denied the petition, ruling that opposition to the memorial was primarily based on “a false narrative” in regards to the scale of the monetary rewards Rustat gained from slavery and ordered that the memorial ought to stay within the chapel.
Welby stated he had little question the regulation had been adopted and the Church of England’s contested heritage steerage used, however added: “But if we are content with a situation where people of colour are excluded from places of worship because of the pain caused by such memorials, then clearly we have a lot further to go in our journey towards racial justice.”
It shouldn’t be the primary time the archbishop has felt compelled to intervene within the dispute. Earlier this yr, talking on the General Synod, he questioned why it was proving so troublesome to maneuver the Rustat memorial when it prompted misery to folks whose ancestors have been bought into slavery. “I stand by those comments,” he stated on Tuesday.
“The Church of England has a dark history where slavery is concerned that we need to confront. Racial injustice, inside the church and outside, is an issue that exists to this day,” Welby stated.
“Since the end of 2019, the church commissioners, of which I am the chair and the archbishop of York is a board member, have embarked on the process to uncover and confront this dark past, with the aim of restoration, repair and promoting a better future for us all. They are due to report within the coming months on their findings.”
Earlier this week, Jesus College dominated out an attraction in opposition to the consistory court docket judgment. The grasp of the school, Sonita Alleyne, who’s the primary black grasp of an Oxbridge faculty, warned, nonetheless, that the church of England’s procedures for addressing problems with racial injustice and contested heritage have been insufficient and never match for goal.