Safeguarding, done well, reflects the heart of the Gospel. It ensures that the life of a Christian community is firmly rooted in the values which pervade the Christian story. Honouring God’s image in every person, safeguarding is deeply respectful of individuals, enables communities to grow into the character of God’s Kingdom, protects the most vulnerable while ensuring that their voices are heard, and is a framework for excellent pastoral care.
Large numbers of children, young people and adults connect with the life of our churches and chaplaincies every day of the week: through clubs, drop-ins, discussion groups, community projects, youth work and of course worship and other congregational activities.
We are called to share the good news of Christ with all people – and the biblical witness highlights our particular responsibility to walk alongside those in most need. ALL are welcome, and people who are vulnerable in all sorts of ways are attracted to our churches and chaplaincies in the belief that they will be safe.
None of us is a stranger to vulnerability and we all need to feel safe. This need is particularly sharp for some: children and young people; those who experience racism; the LGBT+ community; people with disabilities; the vulnerable elderly; those whose immigration status is insecure; victims of domestic abuse; people trapped in modern day slavery; all of us when we face struggles with our own mental health.
The hope and expectation of safety brings with it a great challenge to the Diocese and our worshipping communities:
- To work to ensure that our churches, chaplaincies and other communities continue to be – and be seen – as safe spaces;
- To offer a welcome to those who have sinned and seek repentance whilst managing any risk appropriately;
- To ensure that those who make allegations of abuse are listened to and supported, their stories heard and insights acted upon, and that we deal with such allegations promptly.
Thank you for all that you have done and continue to do in playing your part in creating a safer diocese. I see good practice and signs of the Kingdom in many places I visit, as we work together to create a culture of informed vigilance and attentive care.
As a Diocese we have invested heavily in enhancing our safeguarding resources and expanding the Safeguarding Team. We will continue to work to ensure that everyone has up to date safeguarding knowledge appropriate to their role, so that we can carry out our responsibilities with thoughtfulness, commitment, care and always mindful of God’s love in Christ, for all.