Free Church releases statement over church’s connection to historical slavery

The Free Church of Scotland has released a statement regarding the denomination’s connection to historical slavery.

The Free Church of Scotland has released a statement regarding the denomination’s connection to historical slavery.

The Assembly has issued the following statement:

“The Free Church of Scotland is firmly opposed to all forms of racism and slavery. The Bible teaches that everyone is made in the image of God and worthy of inherent dignity and respect. We are all equal in the eyes of God and the Bible urges us to love one another without partiality. Many of our congregations and individual members are financially, prayerfully, and actively engaged with organisations working to release and protect people from modern-day slavery and trafficking.

“The Free Church recognises and freely admits the historical sins of members of the denomination in relation to slavery. In particular we express regret over the interaction between members of a Free Church delegation that visited the USA in 1844 and some of their US associates. We grieve that the Free Church decided to receive funds as a result of the delegation.

“Even though we, as the Free Church today, are unlikely to be the beneficiaries of these funds due to the various transfers of property to other denominations, yet as their successors we acknowledge with sorrow the actions of our forebears who held the name of Free Church office holders. We express gratitude for the many Free Church members and office holders who actively opposed the slave trade and expressed opposition to it.

“The Free Church affirms the necessity for constant watchfulness against oppression in various forms, and we continue to commit ourselves to the opposition of modern-day slavery and racism.”

The 2024 General Assembly of the Free Church of Scotland began on Monday evening and runs until Thursday. It is taking place at St Columba’s Free Church of Scotland at the top of Edinburgh’s Royal Mile.

The Assembly gives Church leaders time to discuss the work that has taken place and make decisions on the future of the church. Representatives from every presbytery across the U.K. have gathered to discuss Church business and hear reports from various committees and boards. Over the course of the week, they have been joined by guests of the Church and other organisations.