Methodist church to review child safeguarding procedures

The Methodist Church in Ireland has begun a re-examination of all past reports of “safeguarding” concerns or issues within the church.

Rev Dr Tom McKnight
Rev Dr Tom McKnight

A church spokesperson said the initiative is designed to ensure the safety of children and young people, and has not been prompted by any known problems.

The ‘Safeguarding Past Cases Review’ began in November 2020 with the final report anticipated in June 2023.

It began with requests for any comments and insights from all Methodist ministers and lay employees and the second phase will involve a request for all Methodist Circuits to respond – including an invitation for anyone to raise any concerns.

In a statement, the church said: “Our purpose is to learn further from the past in order to enable the Methodist Church in Ireland to be as safe a space as it is possible to be.

“The Past Cases Review includes all ministers and lay employees, all circuits and individual congregations, and the Church is now seeking to make this review widely known so that anyone to whom this is relevant may hear and be able to make their view known.”

Methodist President, Rev Dr Tom McKnight said: “An important part of our current safeguarding responsibilities as a Church is to learn from any issues that may have arisen in the past. Commitment to such a task is part of our witness in today’s world.”

The process is being chaired by Deborah Webster, a former Presbyterian Church safeguarding officer.

Ms Webster said she is confident the process will “ensure that children and young people involved in the life and ministry of the congregations will be better protected today and in the future as a result”.

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