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Proud of the Sydney Anglican Diocese

by on June 6, 2014

20140331-RD-Walk in the light FlyerI have spent the day today sitting in a very long training seminar called a Faithfulness in Service conference. Dull, institutional sounding name I know. But the conference is actually about something very interesting: how not to abuse the people in our churches.

Also how to protect the vulnerable people in our churches from abuse. Also how to cope with the internet porn avalanche now overwhelming our society.

Everyone employed in Anglican churches in this diocese is required to come along to this training. They check whether you’ve attended. If you haven’t, eventually you get sacked.

This is part of a big push over the past 20 years to come to terms with problems of abuse which were coming to light in the churches around the world. Many church groups have dragged their heels, unwilling to face up to their problems. The Sydney Diocese has been proactive. It has said, ‘If we are going to love people, we have to make sure we are not abusing them.’

So now we have a code of conduct. And we have a body, the Professional Standards Unit, which is dedicated to helping victims and bringing justice when abuse does occur.

And we have these training days. I hate these days. It’s long, it’s unpleasant, it’s intense.

But I am so proud of our diocese for doing it.

Today they’ve talked about how to use electronic media wisely; about what happens when an abuser operates at your church; about what to do if an accusation of abuse comes to light; about caring for vulnerable people in your church. This afternoon has been about internet porn. At the moment a very brave man from Melbourne is standing up telling us about his history of porn addiction. He runs a support network for people with porn problems.

I am sick today, but I made myself come anyway. Because this is something I want to support. This is the sort of team I want to be part of. One that protects the vulnerable. One that supports its leaders in doing right. One that makes the hard decisions to fix things, and doesn’t leave it to the state to intervene. That’s why I dragged myself along today.

Oh, and also because they’ll kick my butt if I don’t show up!       🙂

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