Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Church of England Speculates

In Wellesbourne, Warwickshire, near Stratford-upon-Avon, the diocese of Coventry of the Church of England, plans to sell the town's allotments to a developer for housing.

The allotments, tended by 97 gardeners, were established in 1841 and are described by enthusiasts as one of the most historically important plots in Britain. The National Agricultural Labourers Union was formed in the village in 1872, becoming one of the first recognised farming unions. The allotments have hosted BBC Radio 4’s Gardeners’ Question Time and boast their own shop, selling gardening gloves, canes and fertiliser. Members claim the plot produces enough vegetables and fruit to feed more than a 10th of Wellesbourne’s 7,000-strong population.

The Church of England has 105,000 acres. Its property holdings were valued at just under £2bn at the end of 2015, almost a third of the £6.7bn it owned in assets. Last year, the church sold £17m worth of its “strategic land portfolio”

130 villagers attended a recent parish council meeting to express concern at the plans. The majority of the anger was directed at the diocese, which has been accused of entering into secret talks to build 50 homes on the land without consulting the allotment association.

Nesli Knight explains, “At school, my son is being told how important harvesting is, looking after plants and the environment – and then they do this? For me, it’s all greed,” she said.

Marx in the Preface to the first edition of Capital, wrote that the Church of England would “more readily pardon an attack on 38 of its 39 articles than on 1/39 of its income”.  Article 38 says that “the riches and goods of Christians are not common, as touching the right, title, and possession of the same, as certain Anabaptists do falsely boast . . .”

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