Anglican Church offers apology for its role in slavery

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Two hundred years after Anglican reformers helped to abolish the slave trade, the Church of England has apologised for profiting from it.

Last night the General Synod acknowledged complicity in the trade after hearing that the Church had run a slave plantation in the West Indies and that individual bishops had owned hundreds of slaves.

It voted unanimously to apologise to the descendents of the slaves after an emotional debate in which the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, urged the Church to share the "shame and sinfulness of our predecessors".

The Church's missionary arm, the Society for the Propagation of the Faith in Foreign Parts, owned the Codrington plantation in Barbados and slaves had the word "Society" branded on their chests with red-hot irons.

The Synod was told that the society's governing body included archbishops of Canterbury. Bishops of London and archbishops of York were involved in its management.

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