After the political turbulence of the past week, who knows what the year ahead will bring?
One thing is for sure - the Church's safeguarding agenda will still retain a high profile, and we will be thrust into the limelight when we. the Methodist Church, appear before IICSA (Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse) in March. Here we will have to account for our actions in trying to address the issue of abuse in the Church, and we have gathered together a significant amount of evidence to tell our story. We hope that we will not be found wanting.
This time of carols and cake, turkey and trimmings, pantomimes and presents, can also be stressful for many families. The time spent in close family proximity, with great expectations of 'the best Christmas ever' can alternatively lead to sadness and misery. We have only to follow soap opera story-lines to see this clearly played out. And although our experiences will not, hopefully, be as dramatic, those little niggles and sharp words, perhaps fuelled by a little too much seasonal cheer, can have a profound impact.
Reports of domestic abuse can spike at times such as Christmas. The Church should remain vigilant, keeping a watchful eye on its congregations and community for any sign that all is not well.
Equally the experience of a happy family Christmas can be uplifting, providing memories that in some cases last a lifetime, paving the way for how things can be made well in the future. The Christmas message is about joy and hope, so going into 2020, we still have much to remain optimistic about.
If you are a local church safeguarder or have any other role that supports this vitally important work, a huge thank you for all you do, especially if it feels like hard work at times and for whatever reason. I wish you all a happy and peaceful Christmas.
The blog will return in the new year. There will be much to comment on I feel.