By ACNS staff
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.”
Australian Garth Blake, convener of the Anglican Communion’s Safe Church Network that proposed the resolution, said, “We are enormously pleased by the unanimous approval, but even adoption of a charter will not be effective unless it’s implemented.
“Adoption is just the first step and we shall be looking carefully to see what each province does to create safe churches. The charter contains principles of safety, but how those principles are implemented will need to be worked out in a contextual way in each province.”
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 below).
“It’s clear that civil society is looking very closely at what churches are doing to stop abuse,” said Mr Blake. “There’s been a disconnect between what churches say and what has happened. People have been severely harmed in our churches. Trust has been lost. The charter is designed to rebuild that trust.”
For more information the media should contact Mr Jan Butter on +64 (0)2102991797 (international media) or the Revd Jayson Rhodes 021661319 (New Zealand media)
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.
Notes to Editors
1. The 15th Anglican Consultative Council (ACC-15) is meeting in Auckland, New Zealand between 27 October and 7 November. This is an advisory body comprising lay and ordained delegates from all Provinces that consider the present and future life and work of the Anglican Communion.
2. The Anglican Communion Office serves the Anglican Communion, comprising around 85 million members in 38 regional and national member churches around the globe in more than 165 countries. http://www.anglicancommunion.org/
3. For all the latest news, features, podcasts, videos, tweets and Facebook posts from the conference please visit http://www.aco.org/communion/acc/