So it had to come. I’m writing this with the match between Burnley and Crystal Palace on in the background and at this point the team from London SE25 is losing. Typical, when all the pundits suggested an away win. You get used to it, but as in life, nothing is ever easy or straightforward. So an angst ridden second half awaits.
If safeguarding was easy then perhaps we would not have the range of issues we have to contend with, and of course how we ‘do’ safeguarding as a Church means focusing on a number of different aspects of church life and working with a range of key players; property teams, pastoral visitors, children’s workers and now on line worship planners for example. This also makes the task less straightforward but in the end there is generally a view that safeguarding considerations should predominate. But to embed this culture fully there is arguably a way to go and so a new publication, a study guide entitled ‘Reflect and Respond’ is commended to all churches so that they can deepen collective learning about why we continue to strive for doing things even better.
‘Reflect and Respond’ is being published very shortly and is a four part study guide, ideal for house groups, that aims to set the survivor experience in the context of ‘Our Calling’. Prepared by a group of survivors of abuse, the guide poses some important questions for churches to address that should reinforce that now familiar message of ‘safeguarding is everyone’s business’. Alongside the guide a leaflet is also being published that will be made available to each church which will describe what happens next if a person chooses to disclose information about abuse they have either suffered themselves or they are aware of. Do look out for the leaflets and the online ‘flyer’ that will promote the guide.
If you want an update, there has been no relief from the personal angst as the second half seems to be following a familiar trajectory. I’m hopeful though that these new publications will help smooth the way towards the goal of really making our churches very safe places to be. Look out for them and respond.