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Scottish Churches call on Gordon Brown to address legacies of the Slave Trade

400 people from across Scotland and beyond attended the Scottish Churches' National Ecumenical Service at the David Livingstone Centre, Blantyre, on Saturday 16th June. The congregation included members of Scotland's traditional churches and of the increasing number of black majority churches within the country.

During the Service representatives from eight of Scotland's major Churches signed an agreed Statement (Full text available on www.scotlandandslavery.org.uk ) on slavery which included a call to the Government to be particularly supportive of the nations in Africa and in the Caribbean which bore the brunt of the effects of the Slave Trade.

The Statement, which was also signed by individual members of the congregation, is to be sent to Gordon Brown on his first day as Prime Minister.

Representing the strong, but rarely publicly acknowledged, connections which the Slave Trade forged between Scotland and the Caribbean, Rev. Marjorie Lewis, a minister of the United Church in Jamaica and the Cayman Islands, was the first speaker to address the congregation.Her reflection invited people to think about whether Jesus was welcome in our homes today.

The second speaker, Rev. Arlington Trotman, formerly of the Churches Commission on Racial Justice, used the words of Doctor Martin Luther King Jr. "Lest we forget" to encourage the congregation to use the legacies of the Slave Trade as the starting point for a struggle to create a more just world for all people.

The Service sought to be a bridging point, linking people with the past through the reading of accounts of slavery and the singing of Negro spiritual songs which were led by the Glasgow Gospel Choir and Hamilton Salvation Army Band, and encouraging people to look to the future and to commit themselves to racial justice locally and in the global community.

The Service formed part of an open weekend held by the National Trust for Scotland at the David Livingstone Centre which highlighted the Trust’s work on the Abolition of the Slave Trade. The weekend programme included the participation of community groups, of a wide variety of campaigning organisations as well as museum tours, talks about Scotland and the Slave Trade and the Scottish Churches Racial Justice Conference.

Photographs from the Service and the full text of the Churches' Statement concerning the Slave Trade and its legacies can be found at www.scotlandandslavery.org.uk

For further information contact Lindsey Sanderson, ACTS' Assistant General Secretary, on 01259 222361 or at ecumenical@acts-scotland.org
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