The membership of the newly-established Safe Church Commission has been announced. The Commission has been established to promote the safety of people within the churches of the Anglican Communion.
Garth Blake SC of the Anglican Church of Australia will chair the Commission. Mr Blake is a member of the Anglican Consultative Council and serves as chair of the Anglican Church of Australia’s Professional Standards Commission. He is currently the Convener of the Anglican Communion Safe Church Network.
“I am very much looking forward to chairing the Anglican Communion Safe Church Commission”, he said. “The Commission has come from a deep desire within the Communion to fulfil the biblical mandate for the safety of all people, especially children, young people and vulnerable adults. Its creation is vital and timely.”
The establishment of a Commission to promote the safety of people within the churches of the Anglican Communion was requested by the Anglican Consultative Council in 2016 in its resolution ACC 16.25. This was in response to a deep concern that lapses in behaviour by some clergy and church workers in a number of Anglican Provinces have had tragic consequences for those who have been abused.
During the next three years, the Commission will identify safeguarding policies and procedures already in place, and develop guidelines and accompanying resources that will assist churches throughout the Communion to be places of safety.
The guidelines and resources will take into account the ‘Charter for the Safety of People within the Churches of the Anglican Communion’ adopted by the Anglican Consultative Council in 2012 and also the ‘Protocol for disclosure of ministry suitability information between the churches of the Anglican Communion’. The Protocol was drafted by the Anglican Communion Safe Church Network and welcomed by the Anglican Consultative Council in resolution ACC 16.27.
Initially, the Commission will meet via virtual conferencing. The members’ first face to face meeting is scheduled to take place in London in late October this year. The newly announced Commission members are as follows:
- Australia: Garth BlakeSC
- Oceania: Revd Sereima Divulavou Lomaloma, Fiji
- South America: Marcel Cesar Pereira, Brazil
- Africa: Bishop Cleophas Lunga, Zimbabwe, Revd Immaculée Nyiransengimana, Rwanda, Bishop Brian Marajh, South Africa and Bishop Festus Yeboah-Asuamah, Ghana.
- North America: Mary Wells, Canada and Robin Hammeal-Urban, USA.
- Europe: Caroline Venables, England and Archdeacon Christopher Smith, Wales.
- South and South East Asia: Revd Clare Yoon Sook Ham, Korea and Canon Andrew Khoo, Malaysia
Marilyn Redlich has been co-opted as a member to assist the Commission to undertake its work by serving as facilitator. Ms Redlich is a highly experienced facilitator, including for Anglican Indaba conversations.