The Church Commissioners had planned to sell the famous paintings to save on insurance and use the money raised for mission and ministry. But now, the extra-ordinary generosity of this gift will ensure that the paintings can stay, (although still more money will be needed to develop them as a visitor attraction).
The Bishop of London celebrated the donation saying that it “has made that rarest of scenarios possible: the best of both worlds”.
It seems, however, that in celebrating the ‘best of both worlds’, he seems to have forgotten the 3rd world, where such a generous donation could have:-
Built 3,000 Classrooms fully equipped with desks, and blackboards
Plus provide 12,000 Libraries for existing classrooms,
And provide Farming Tools, Seeds and Fertiliser to 100,000 families
(Source: Oxfam Unwrapped)
Alternatively the donation could have provided access to safe water, sanitation, and hygiene education to 1 Million people.
Doubtless people living in poverty in sub-Saharan Africa will be just as delighted that this act of generosity will be used to ‘save’ these paintings.
It has also emerged that the £15m donation will be spent on creating a charitable trust for the paintings, not for mission and ministry, as was planned if the paintings had been sold.
So hats off to the Church Commissioners for ensuring that the most important things have been ‘saved’ – not the million people in poverty whose lives will continue to be at risk from water-borne diseases – not the people who would might have been spiritually ‘saved’ by financing mission, ministry and evangelism in the Church of England – but the paintings.
“It’s good to know that the futures of so many people have been sacrificed for us” said a spokesperson for the Durham 12, “because that is what the Church is all about!”