Geographical and other Extremes
Last month was a fascinating one from my ministerial duties with some interesting extremes from preaching in the cathedral, which I prepared to last full stop and pause, to preaching and Mawla chapel to a congregation of nine stalwarts desperately trying to keep their church alive. Both were equally challenging in their own way but I felt equally privileged to do both.
Geographically my extremes were from Rilla Mill near Callington in the east to Sennen in the west. In Rilla Mill I led a C5 safeguarding update course at the Retreat Centre in the old Methodist Church. The session was well received and our hosts were wonderful providing a great venue and super refreshments! After the session I got a guided tour of the facility which would be brilliant for a quiet day at that end of the county if there is enough interest! https://rillamillretreat.weebly.com/
My trip to Sennen was to see Brian Simpson for a one-to-one C3 training session so that he could be dragged back into reader ministry having retired from it a few years ago! I am sue Canon Wanda will be delighted and somewhat relieved that she has another Reader to begin services for her. One-to-one safeguarding sessions are unusual and not ideal because there is less sharing and discussion but I try not to pass up opportunities to visit and get to know Readers. Brian is an ex-teacher who is actively involved in the education service of the RNLI so has been steeped in safeguarding over the years. It was very gratifying to hear him say that he had learned some knew things and that there were a number of things he would be asking the PCC about and looking at in the context of his church.
On the 14th I am in Coverack on the Lizard leading a c0/c1 session with pasties and puds which should be great and I get to see a Reader or two in St Keverne on the way. Now I know that an awful lot of folk see safeguarding as an irritating box-ticking exercise but I am really and honestly quite passionate about it! To me, it is all about discipleship and loving one another as Jesus loved us. Not that He went round doing risk assessments, checking whether the sacristan had a lone working agreement or whether the Sunday School leader had been safely recruited and had a DBS check but he did ask, “What is it that you want me to do for you?” and that question is at the root of our duties.
Safeguarding is everyone’s responsibility- everyone! It is not a lone task for a volunteer coordinator, or the incumbent or for that matter a Reader or Church Warden. Everyone needs educating (rather than training) in how to embed it as a a matter of church culture and ethos.