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Freedom from slavery

On the 30th July the church remembers the work of William Wilberforce, Olaudah Equiano and Thomas Clarkson, who campaigned for the abolition of slavery in England.
In recent months we have had cause to remember that the evils underlying slavery- racial prejudice, a disrespect for the freedom of others, a preference for wealth and privilege over justice, still remain in our society.

As Kath Johnson was discussing with Paul Wilcox recently (see the interview here on YouTube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6sol2kNvkLw&t=2s), slavery worldwide remains a huge stain on our collective conscience. Whether we are buying cheap clothes made in sweatshops, or having our block paving done at an unbelievably low price by someone who in forced labour, or having our cars washed for next to nothing… we can unwittingly collude with the oppression and slavery of others. We may not think of these as acts of racism or slavery, but the outcomes are unmistakeable. Slavery can hide “in plain sight”. Charities like The Clewer Initiative, Hope for Justice and the International Justice Mission are all campaigning for slavery- here and abroad- to be brought to an end.

As we pray today, giving thanks to God for the freedom which we enjoy, let’s also commit ourselves to actively working- and if need be changing our behaviour- to end slavery for the estimated 40 million people living in slavery today. These people are our brothers and sisters. And the call for freedom is just as urgent as it was when this medallion was first struck- over 200 years ago in 1788.

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