Letters

Letter: To Lord Wallace, Church of Scotland Buildings & the Legacy of Slavery

To the Editor The Orkney News. A letter to Lord Wallace.

Dear Lord Wallace,

Please find below an article on Dornoch Cathedral and its legacy of Slavery . Please also note that the building being used by the General Assembly in May 2022 is one that has connection with the proceeds of slavery as New College was built by the Free Church who raised funds from slave plantation owners .

I understand that you may consider that this issue does not take much significance in the light of the grave matters before GA, I would respectfully submit that the silence for hundreds of years of the suffering of shaves which undelivered possibly 10-30 % of the land estates and wealth of Scotland is a priority. It would be good to know if you are intending to raise this matter in the opening speech at GA

Please see media interest in this area below

https://www.scotsman.com/news/national/kirk-urged-to-act-on-links-to-slavery-3670125

https://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/news/politics/edinburghs-links-with-slavery-city-centre-church-part-funded-by-slave-trade-says-researcher-3640583

https://www.northern-scot.co.uk/news/slave-trade-profits-built-aberlour-landmarks-243319/

https://www.thenational.scot/news/19089369.scottish-churches-must-reveal-links-slavery-clergyman-says/

I recently raised the issue of the Duke of Argyle legacy of slavery and it’s involvement with Iona Abbey . As a result The Iona cathedral trustees board is raising the matter at the General Assembly in May

Part of the IC Board report, and a deliverance (motion) to the General Assembly is on the Historic Legacy of Slavery

Here’s the extract from the report:

We remain committed to eradicating injustice wherever we see it and to working for peace. This includes interrogating our understanding of the legacies of slavery, while working for the eradication of modern-day slavery in all its forms. We are grateful to the Iona Cathedral Trustees who researched and published a document on ‘Iona Cathedral and Historic Slavery’.

http://www.iona-cathedral.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2021/05/Iona-Cathedral-and-historic-slavery-.pdf

We commend the Church of Scotland’s Faith Impact Forum for keeping this concern on the Church’s agenda; recognise the value of making relevant information and guidance available to congregations; commend work being done around reparations, apologies and conversations with partner Churches in west Africa and the Caribbean; and look forward to a report from the Faith Impact Forum at the next General Assembly. We call upon all to support faith communities everywhere in their similar endeavours through researching the historic legacy of slavery in their own areas and in relation to their local religious buildings.

And here’s the deliverance which we will put before the vote at the GA:

Call upon all people of good will to raise awareness of the historic legacy of slavery, and to support congregations and faith communities in their endeavours to research the historic legacy of slavery in their own areas, particularly in relation to local religious buildings. (4.8/4.9)

Yours, Reverend Yousouf Gooljary, Member of the Iona Community

Image credit: Mark Harkin, CC BY 2.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

1 reply »

  1. Given that slavery was a practice & an institution ubiquitous around the planet, before, during and after UK/Scotland’s involvement in the trade, and furthermore that the UK went on to be the first nation to abolish slavery, before going on to be the leading entity to stamp out the institution across the world, including in Rev. Gooljary’s ancestral homeland.

    As the history of slavery is so important to Rev. Gooljary, when can we expect Rev. Gooljary to advocate for raising awareness of the UK & Scotland’s historic achievements in combating, and ultimately stopping this worldwide injustice?