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.
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.