The Methodist Church is strongly committed to supporting survivors of abuse of any kind and especially abuse that occurred within a church context. The Past Cases Review challenged the church to provide better care and support for survivors and the Church took steps to engage with a small group of survivors that now is a recognised advisory group with close links to the Connexional Safeguarding Committee.
Since 2017, the Survivors’ Advisory group has worked as an effective team to help the church reflect on what needs to change in its culture in order to make it a truly safe space. The group has studied both theological and practice issues and has made important contributions to key policy developments. In particular though the group has produced two important documents that are being launched in January 2021.
‘Reflect and Respond’ is a four week study guide for small groups in churches. Based on the four themes of ‘Our Calling’ it provides case study material, theological commentary and challenging questions. Highly commended by both the Secretary of Conference and the chair of the Safeguarding Committee it can be ordered from Methodist Publishing and is free.
Reflect and Respond - Leaders' Guide
Whether or not you are a survivor of abuse, exploring the material in the Reflect and Respond study guide with your Methodist Church house group or Bible study group will take courage. Reflect and Respond considers the calling of the Methodist Church: to respond to the gospel of God’s love in Christ and to live out its discipleship through worship, learning and caring, service and evangelism, from the perspective of survivors of different forms of abuse. These guidance notes aim to offer you as house/Bible group leaders a deeper understanding of the complexity of the issues raised by Reflect and Respond and to give you the confidence to facilitate the course effectively
Secondly the group has developed a leaflet that should be made freely available in all our churches that explains how to seek care and support when making a disclosure, and describes what is likely to happen next and the standards we expect to achieve. Copies have been sent to each active minister for them to place in churches, and in the context of Covid 19, when it is safe to do so.