The Bishop of Clifton, Right Reverend Declan Lang, joined political, business, trades union and other church leaders to sign a Statement of Regret about the Slave Trade at the Council House in Bristol on Friday 12 January. The Bristol Black Churches Council and Churches Together in Greater Bristol presented the Statement of Regret for signing by the broad range of community leaders. The signing was a public act to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the abolition of the slave trade act and one of the first events of the year in Bristol. The city has a programme called Abolition 200 with the objective to provide sustainable improvements in the quality of life of Bristol's residents, and those of African and African Caribbean heritage in particular. Reverend Harold Clarke Director of the Churches' Council for Industry and Social Responsibility and coordinator of this poignant public act, said: "We choose to make this Statement of Regret because we hope to move on from the present by continuing to build a city offering hope and expectation for all. This hope is based upon our belief that all are children of God and equal in his sight. We cannot rest until every person is equally involved. So we want to look forward, committing ourselves to a community of hope for every person. May God help us fulfil this commitment." The Statement of Regret is: "We the signatories regret wherever and whenever inhumanity is exercised, but in 2007 we especially recognise the evil of the transatlantic slave trade. We cannot imagine the pain and suffering inflicted upon millions of individuals and families and the significant changes forced upon thousands of communities in Africa, the West Indies and other places by slavers of whatever race or faith. 1807 was the beginning of the end of slavery through the passing into law of the anti-slavery bill. "We give thanks for those who struggled to initiate this change and look to a time when slavery of every kind is abolished." Source: Clifton Diocese
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