The Church’s One Foundation

From the Sunday Express (January 18th, 1959): “The Church of England stands to make millions of pounds if the Tories win the next election. The money will come from investments in free enterprise steel. The Church’s 2,187,000 shares put it among Britain’s top ten investors in steel. . . . The investment is worth around £3,400,0000. Growing confidence that Tory success at the polls will end the threat of renationalisation has brought a rise of nearly 50 per cent. in steel shares from the low points touched last year. This suggests that the Church is already showing a profit in the region of £1,000,000 on its holding . . .  Soon the Church’s advisers will face the problem of reinvesting the £1,100,000 to be received from the take-over of its $260,000 British Aluminium shares.. This single transaction has brought the Church a profit estimated at £500,000.”

    The prophets of the early days for truth made spartan search,

         They lived on nuts and wore apparel strange;

    But now in more enlightened times the profits of the Church

          Are made in dealings on the Stock Exchange.

    “Take no thought for the body,” said the Gospel of St. Luke,

        “Consider ye the lilies of the field.”

    They considered: but, while thinking, much more worldly steps they took,

         And placed their Cush to get the highest yield.

    Do they pray, in their churches, that the Consols may not fall?

         Do they beg, as they kneel, that oil may rise?

    Do they summon the Almighty to keep closer on the ball

          So their shares, like their prayers, may hit the skies?

    The Church complains it cannot reach the workers—it despairs

          That it doesn’t find them very fruitful soil;

    But the Church can reach the workers other ways—by buying shares,

          And grabbing surplus value from their toil.


Alwyn Edgar

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