We have all been appalled this week by the findings of a report from the Methodist church entitled "Courage, Cost and Hope" revealing 1,885 reports of alleged abuse within the denomination since the 1950s, of which 914 included sexual abuse. 26% of the alleged cases involved clergy or lay staff employed by the church. The Church commissioned the review - which took three years to complete - because it wanted to be open about the past and to have stronger safeguarding procedures in the future.
In my experience the Methodists have been the best denomination in the UK in terms of their commitment to safeguarding and highlighting issues of abuse. This must cause us to reflect on the damage done to vulnerable people within all of our churches and the responsibility we all have to repent and radically change our culture and practice.
The sign of hope is that this came out because of an investigation commissioned by the church itself. They spent more than a quarter of a million pounds to undertake a robust review. It is has been accompanied by a profound apology. A willingness to face abuse, however horrific, to apologise deeply and to provide whatever restoration is possible is the beginning of hope and revival. We applaud the Methodist church for its willingness to bring these issues into the light.
If you or your church is interested in ensuring the Safeguarding of children check out the training and resources from CCPAS here.
Our free church pack is available here.
If you feel that you might be in an abusive situation, help is on hand. You can contact the National Domestic Abuse Helpline on 0808 2000 247, or speak to Refuge using their online chat function. You can also get in touch with our Survivors' Network - we're not an emergency service or helpline, but we can stand alongside you as you access the support you need.