The relationship of the Church to the issue of slavery is complex. There is shame at the time it took for the church to recognise that slavery contravenes the message of the gospel. Shame at the participation of individuals within the church and the church corporately in slave trading. But pride at the work of the church in abolishing the slave trade.

Our Start:Stop reflection this week explores the legacy of William Wilberforce, who is remembered by the church this week and his friend John Newton – a former captain of a slave ship who converted to Christianity and became a priest at St Mary Woolnoth here in the City of London.

Wilberforce’s campaigning work reminds us that we can participate with politics and engage with the political process to effect changes that accord with the message of the Gospel.

Start:Stop takes a summer break during August. We will be back in September.

Image : Gilt of Cain, Fenn Court, by Michael Visocchi & Lemn Sissay, 2007-2008