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All are welcome, all are safe...

Over the past weekend a large number of our community completed both the first and second levels of our Diocesan Safeguarding Training. This training is intended to raise our awareness and perception of the issues that can arise in community, particularly with power, abuse and control. These are never easy subjects to tackle. As Christians, we generally want to believe the best of people - but as we know through the story of the cross, human beings are far from perfect.

As the Vicar, I want to extend a huge thank you to those who have completed this training. I am very aware of the time demand that it brings with it, the difficulty with which some found it to attend and stay present, and even the memories and stories that it reopened for many of you. While it has not always been easy, I believe we are doing the only thing we can in light of the experience of those who have suffered at the hands of the church - showing that we are listening and trying to change.

It is easy to throw arguments at training like this. Even as I listened and engaged, I could not help but think that ultimately the people who are determined to abuse and control will do so anyway - it is ultimately a matter of character. But equally, by being a community that engages in this discussion, we bring our attention and consciousness to it. We express a transparency to truth and speaking of what is really happening. That creates an environment in which it is much harder for those who would control and abuse to do so. As we see in the image of Christ as the light - light, perception and our awareness burns through the dark shadows in which distorted human behaviour dwells.

Thank you again to all those who have attended and made that commitment. Certificates are available in the church office for those who attended the first round of training late last year, and we will let you know when the new certificates arrive as well.

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