“Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God.” 1 John 4:7
As part of fulfilling God’s call to love one another, the Baptist Churches of NSW & ACT are committed to creating safe spaces in our local church contexts. We are committed to safe ministry practice which is God-honouring, person-valuing, respectful, and free from harm and abuse. Safe ministry is more than simply a risk management exercise or fulfillment of our legal obligations. Rather safe ministry is first of all an outworking of what James 1:27 calls true religion – caring for the vulnerable (widows and orphans), and an expression of what is required of all people, that is “to seek justice, love, mercy and walk humbly before our God” (Micah 6:8).
Church history is overflowing with wonderful acts of love flowing through God’s humble servants, as the gospel of Jesus has been proclaimed and spread across the nations of the earth. However, sadly, the Christian Church has not always lived up to its calling. At times the Christian Church has allowed for great harm and abuse to be inflicted upon children and other vulnerable people. The stories of abuse in church contexts which have emerged from the recent Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse are horrific and something we are deeply ashamed of. It is a sad fact that some abusers have seen church communities as soft targets as they have sought to abuse innocent victims, be they children, young people or adults.
The Royal Commission final report made many recommendations relevant to local church ministry. In addition, the Commonwealth, NSW and ACT Governments have all proposed legislative changes which if implemented will significantly increase the legal obligation for churches to be proactive in protecting children from harm and sexual abuse.
It is therefore imperative for church leaders to ensure that their church is complying with the Child Safe Standards recommended by the Royal Commission, and taking all reasonable steps possible to ensure our churches are safe places for all people.
For more information please contact our Creating Safe Spaces Coordinator Joseph Lam via email or via the “Contact Us” section on our webpage.