Training essential for a safe church

The open, loving and trusting nature of our Christian community is one that offenders could potentially seek to take advantage of.

Lynn Rees, Safeguarding Support Officer, stresses the need for training and vigilance

THE Church is a unique organisation in that it has an opendoor policy, which welcomes everyone. With this comes the responsibility on us all to ensure that our churches are safe places for those who are part of our church communities; therefore it is essential that we develop a culture of informed vigilance.

‘Informed vigilance’ is a fantastic term which sums up this responsibility very well and clearly expresses what I hope will be achieved by the ‘Safe Church’ training.

‘Safe Church’ is the safeguarding course that has been commissioned by the Church in Wales from the NSPCC and delivered to all clergy across the province. A key priority for me now, as Safeguarding Support Officer, is to deliver this training to members of the laity across the Diocese of St Davids.

The course is about knowing the warning signs to look out for, and what to do if you identify any concerns.

I am prioritising delivery of a comprehensive six-hour training course to Parish Safeguarding Co-ordinators, Children and Youth leaders and employed staff in the
diocese, all of whom are expected to attend one of the sessions, and the following Safe Church Training Dates dates have been scheduled at
the Diocesan Office in Abergwili: from 10am to 4pm

  • Saturday 4 March 2017;
  • Saturday 8 April 2017
  • Saturday 13 May 2017.

An abbreviated two-hour “Safe Church Awareness” course is available on a local basis for church representatives, including PCC members and Church Wardens.

Ideally, such training events should be arranged on a Local Ministry Area or Deanery basis. Please contact me for more information, or to arrange a convenient date for
training in your area:
lynnrees@churchinwales.org.uk

As we read in Mark’s Gospel:
Let the children come to me; do not try to stop them; for the Kingdom
of Heaven belongs to such as these.” (19:14)

For me, this sums up all that we are trying to achieve; perhaps it could be updated to
include all of God’s people, including those who are vulnerable?

This article first appeared in Pobl Dewi, March 2017