Walk of Witness to Mark Bicentenary of Slave Trade Abolition

The Church of England will mark the bicentenary of the Act for the Abolition of the Slave Trade next year with a special walk through London.

Thousands of people from across the country will join the Archbishops of Canterbury and York in the Walk of Witness through the capital to mark the historic bicentenary in 2007.

The event, organised by the Church's Committee for Minority Ethnic Anglican Concerns (CMEAC), will culminate in a large-scale act of worship.

It forms the main part of the Church's wider awareness campaign, Making our Mark, which was set up following the formal apology made by the General Synod in February 2006 to the heirs of those who were enslaved.

The walk - scheduled to take place in London on Saturday 24th March - is intended as a "high-profile public act of Christian witness," a Church of England press release said. Organisers hope the event will be a gathering to acknowledge the lasting legacy of the slave trade and will "serve as an act of repentance and confession".

The Rev Rose Hudson-Wilkin, chair of CMEAC, explains: "The event will mark the beginning of a healing process and a foundation for future relationships. We hope it will serve as a public acknowledgement of a time in history when people of African origin were barbarically treated, and will present an opportunity to re-commit ourselves to truly live by the values of the gospel - loving, caring and respecting one another as human beings made in the image of God.

"With these aims in mind, we pray that the walk will become an assertion of the power of the resurrection."

A dedicated website, www.makingourmark.org.uk, will go live in December with further information on the Walk of Witness including a map of the route and details of how to register.

Making our Mark has received funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund and is also supported by Anglican mission agency USPG, which today continues to work with churches in the Caribbean and West Africa.

Making our Mark is the Church of England's national contribution to Set All Free, a project of Churches Together in England working to commemorate the bicentenary.