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Counting chickens

So spring sprung at the weekend it seems. A glorious day of sunshine and ambient temperature, at least in SE England. With the road map before us it seemed like a time to start thinking again about future projects. So I reminded myself that in June last year, as we emerged from lockdown mark 1, I had written in similar vein about a new dawn emerging and how we might respond positively as church safeguarders to what might have happened to people during that first three month closedown. So this is going to sound a bit like a broken record. I do hope though that this will be the last time, but never count your chickens.

In my circuit, churches are looking to resume in person services from around Easter time. So that’s just four weeks away. Things may well have changed dramatically for many folk since we were last together in early December and so, as before, I’d like to encourage churches as they plan their worship, to spend some time also thinking about their safeguarding work – keeping eyes and ears open for those signs that say all may not be well, and for those who need to refresh their training, how best to take advantage of new online opportunities that are being rolled out. It would be great if we can continue to harness that huge amount of voluntary effort that has been so evident across the country and channel some of it towards sustaining what many churches have done so well over the last year – keeping in touch, looking out for the vulnerable and generally being alert.

This is all in addition to the practical steps that we will need to take to make sure our church buildings and the ways we use them are safe. We probably need to dust off the plethora of guidance that was published last year by Public Health England, local authorities and the Methodist Church. So although the spring weather made the world suddenly look a better place, there is still much to do.

The recent webinar about domestic abuse, an upcoming one next week about self-harm and then, in May, one describing ‘contextual safeguarding’ which is about risky and harmful behaviour between young people, all show that there remain vital issues for us to address, however bright the sun shines. If you want to join one of these informative webinars, contact your District Safeguarding Officer, which in London is Becky Skinner.

The weather forecast today tells me that it’s going to get colder this weekend, with the chance of snow in some places. What’s that about chickens?

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