Safe Church Charter urged by ACC 15

UPDATED: video about Safe Church - see below
Anglican Consultative Council 15 urges member churches to adopt the Safe Church Charter:

A meeting of Anglicans from around the world unanimously voted to call on their Churches to adopt and implement a charter protecting vulnerable people.

More than 80 members of the Anglican Communion gathered in Auckland’s Holy Trinity Cathedral for the 15th Anglican Consultative Council committed themselves to promoting the physical, emotional and spiritual welfare and safety of all people, especially children, young people and vulnerable adults, within their national and regional churches.

They voted to pass a resolution that called on their Churches “to adopt and implement the following Charter for the Safety of People within the Churches of the Anglican Communion, and report to the next meeting of the Anglican Consultative Council as to steps taken to adopt and implement the Charter.”

The issue of violence, particularly against women and children, has been on the agenda of the Anglican Communion since 1998 Lambeth Conference. Since that time, there has been a steady effort by Member Churches and Anglican Communion leaders to address protection issues, but this is the first time the whole Communion has been encouraged to adopt a charter.

See charter below:

Charter for the Safety of People within the Churches of the Anglican Communion

Pastoral support where there is abuse
1. We will provide pastoral support for the abused, their families, and affected parishes and church organisations by:
a. Listening with patience and compassion to their experiences and concerns;
b. Offering spiritual assistance and other forms of pastoral care.

Effective response to abuse
2. We will have and implement policies and procedures to respond properly to allegations of abuse made against clergy and other church personnel that include:
a. Making known within churches the procedure for making complaints;
b. Arranging pastoral care for any person making a complaint of abuse;
c. The impartial determination of allegations of abuse against clergy and other church personnel, and assessment of their suitability for future ministry;
d. Providing support for affected parishes and church organisations.

Practice of pastoral ministry
3. We will adopt and promote by education and training standards for the practice of pastoral ministry by clergy and other church personnel.

Suitability for ministry
4. We will have and implement policies and procedures to assess the suitability of persons for ordination as clergy or appointment to positions of responsibility in the church including checking their background.

Culture of safety
5. We will promote a culture of safety in parishes and church organisations by education and training to help clergy, other church personnel and participants prevent the occurrence of abuse.

Comments (5)

With prayers that this is universally respected and implemented in word and spirit

Erik Campano

This is a worthy initiative, but what I find interesting is that the focal point is clergy abuse.

Creating a safe space includes one in which all can find their own path forward, and I dare say that the conservative provinces have not allowed for a safe space in which TEC can follow the dictates of its conscience on social issues. So I'd say that we must work to eliminate abuse, but in all its forms, not just when clergy behave badly.

Eric Bonetti

This initiative is an unqualified positive development. Churches must be safe places. Hopefully those supporting this initiative will recognize that making churches safe places is linked to making them places of justices and inclusion as well.

"We will promote a culture of safety in parishes and church organisations by education and training...".

Let's promote a culture of justice which tolerates no stigma for GLBT people, and removes all doubt about where the church stands on bullying. Let's promote a culture of gender equality,one that would challenge some aspects of church culture, in the Canadian church for example, by not continuing the "wink wink nudge nudge" no go places for female priests and bishops.

Safety and a healthy respect for human and civil rights go hand in hand.

@Eric: I don't think you can equate ecclesiastical back-and-forth with not creating a "safe space." What is unsafe for TEC? I find it really, really difficult to think of The Episcopal Church with all of our wealth and power as an oppressed minority within the Anglican Communion.

It isn't so much the Episcopal Church, Tom, as the LGBT people the Episcopal Church is trying to stick up for. Cast it in your terms and sure, the great big Westerners shouldn't be complaining. But it is still possible to get the shit beaten out of you for the crime of being gay on the streets of just about any city in this country. And in countries counseling moderation on the LGBT issues in the name of unity, it is possible to get yourself killed. So, yeah, the allies of LGBT people need space in which to advance their cause.

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