From The Methodist Church in Britain
A Caring Church
As Christians, and especially those of Methodist and Wesleyan tradition churches, we are called to care for all of humanity. This is particularly true of those with whom we work closely in our church buildings and as part of our mission and outreach in our communities. In some countries and churches there are laws and rules about how we must interact with young people and with vulnerable adults. These are in place to help keep people safe from all forms of abuse. The term ‘Safeguarding’ is used to describe the codes of conduct and rules that we must follow to do our best to eradicate all forms of mistreatment, physical and sexual violence, and neglect.
Through the World Methodist Council we would like to try and start a global conversation between member churches about ‘Safeguarding’ and the role of our churches in providing safe spaces and environments for those we minister with. To start off the conversation we have written the short text below. Please do respond with your thoughts, comments and your own experiences of issues in relation to the protection of children and vulnerable adults.
The Methodist Church in Britain has a presence in many parts of the world and values its connectivity and the way in which the core principles and understanding of Methodism is applied to different national and cultural contexts.
Across the global Methodist and Wesleyan family there is no universal structure that focuses on safeguarding, although it does feature from time to time in other areas of church policy work. In British Methodism our recent experiences have demonstrated that understanding and practice in relation to safeguarding is expanding quickly. Whether we are addressing child abuse, adult abuse, domestic violence, sexuality, bullying, relationships or appropriate pastoral boundaries, safeguarding considerations are now integral to our thinking and approach to all our work.
Recently the World Council of Churches launched its ‘Churches Commitment to Children’ (May 2017) which has three core purposes:
a) To promote child protection by church communities
b) To promote meaningful participation by children and adolescents
c) To raise Church voices for intergenerational climate justice
Given the amount of investment that British Methodism has made to safeguarding for children and adults in recent years we would like to explore mutual opportunities and learning experiences from sister churches around the world.
We would therefore be very interested to hear from national churches about the work they have already undertaken with regard to safeguarding, We would also like to be in contact with churches who feel they would like to move forward on this but are uncertain how to tackle the issues. From this we would like to see how we can share understanding and practice and discuss a potential structure for a future work and cooperation. We hope to use some time after the British Methodist Conference gathering to discuss this further with some of our partners.
Please send your comments to Mr Tim Carter at firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you for being part of this dialogue and exchange.