USPG (United Society Partners in the Gospel) on Friday 8 September announced at a press conference in Barbados that it will be seeking to address the wrongs of their past by committing to a long-term project, ‘Renewal & Reconciliation: The Codrington Reparations Project’ in partnership with Codrington Trust / Church in the Province of the West Indies (CPWI), in Barbados.
The work will include four areas of work in collaboration with the descendants of the enslaved; community development and engagement; historical research & education; burial places & memorialization, and family research. USPG has pledged, in response to proposals that Codrington Trust has advanced, 18M Barbadian dollars – (£7M) – to be spent in Barbados over the next 10-15 years to support this work.
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“USPG is deeply ashamed of our past links to slavery” stated Rev’d Duncan Dormor, General Secretary of USPG, “We recognise that it is not simply enough to repent in thought and word, but we must take action, working in partnership with Codrington where the descendants of enslaved persons are still deeply impacted by the generational trauma that came from the Codrington Plantations”.
USPG has long been aware of its disgraceful links to the slave trade. In 1710, The Society of the Propagation of the Gospel (former name) received a bequest from Sir Christopher Codrington for two plantations in Barbados. Between 1710 and 1838, SPG benefitted from the labour of enslaved persons on the Codrington Estate. This newly announced project in Barbados is part of USPG’s ongoing commitment to engaging critically with its shameful history.
“It is our hope that, through this reparations project, there will be serious reckoning with the history of the relationship between The Codrington Trust and USPG, but also a process of renewal and reconciliation that will be healing of the pain of the past,” stated Archbishop Howard Gregory, Primate and Metropolitan of The Church of the Province in the West Indies.
The project will begin from spring 2024 and regular updates will be available. The full statement from USPG and more information is available here.