Updated: Apr 16, 2018
London has seen a significant spike in serious youth violence since the turn of the year culminating in a number of fatal stabbings, particularly this last week or two. Many of our more central Methodist communities will have been deeply affected by these serious and tragic incidents and, like so many others, they will be looking for solutions as well as asking the question 'why?'
The church's regular safeguarding arrangements do not, at first glance, lend themselves readily to being a primary means of tackling this current situation, yet as our conference last month showed there is far more to our safeguarding mission than being inwardly focused on our policies and procedures. Keeping our churches safe places remains our top priority, but thinking outside our collective boxes does allow us to consider applying our learning in our streets and neighbourhoods.
The 'recognise, respond, record and refer' mantra is one that challenges us not to walk by on the other side when we see or learn about something that concerns or even shocks us. At the same time our District goals remind us about the importance of social and civic action and perhaps here to remedy matters that could be seen as contributing to or failing to prevent serious youth violence. Becoming safeguarding activists in the widest sense is one way to use our collective learning about keeping people safe along with our commitment to inclusion and justice, to contribute to local networks striving to bring about the changes that will have a positive impact on the lives of all our young people. Let's pray for no more killings.