Church leaders have objected to keeping a memorial to the slave trader at Cambridge College
Two prominent bishops, including the leading black figure in the Church of England, in a letter objecting to a recent ruling among more than 160 signatories that a memorial to slave trader Tobias Rustat should be in the chapel of Jesus College, Cambridge.
A letter to the Church Times, also signed by Dr. Rowan Williams, a former archbishop of Canterbury, warned that the ruling could have far-reaching consequences for the Church of England, and that it would tarnish the image of the church’s authority and leadership. .
“We are writing in frustration at the recent decision to retain the Rustat Memorial in the chapel of Jesus College, Cambridge, and we are deeply concerned about what this will mean for the Church of England,” it said.
“It is our firm hope that an appeal will be possible, and that the outcome of the appeal will be to move the memorial from the chapel to a suitable location within Jesus College.”
Other signatories include: Bishop of Wilsden, Lusa Nasenga-Ngoy; Bishop of Uluwich, Dr. Korowei Dorgu; Dr. Elizabeth Henry, a former race adviser to the church; Dean of Manchester, Rogers Govender; And Croydon’s Archdiocese, Rosemary Mallet. Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby has already expressed his support for the removal of the monument.
Jesus College requested that the monument be transferred to its 17th-century benefactor at the Diocese of Eli, a chapel listed on another site of the college from its prominent position in Grade I because its presence had a negative impact on the church’s mission and ministry. .
Rustat, a former courtier of King Charles II and one of the most important benefactors of the college, was involved with the Royal Adventurers and the Royal African Company, which trafficked and traded slave Africans.
A church court last week ruled that the monument’s widespread opposition was based on “a false description” of the financial reward Rustat received from slavery, and ruled that the memorial should remain in the chapel.
Church Times letter, which has been widely shared On TwitterHe warned that the continued presence of the memorial would “lead to disbelief, rejection and loss of respect for the Church of England, both inside and outside of Christianity, and within and outside of college membership.”
“This case raises real questions about authority and leadership in the Church of England and could have far-reaching consequences.”
The letter states that a recent report from Lament to Action, led by General Sind of the Church of England, states that in order for the Church to be a credible voice calling for global change, ” “
“What if Rustat’s favorite memorabilia is not removed or restored?” That said. Jesus College said it was considering seeking leave to appeal.
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