Summer, Synod, and More
People often ask whether things are slower during the summer with Safe Church Ministry. Itâ€™s true that there are fewer workshops and conferences going on during the summer, which can mean less travel and less public speaking. Yet every June, we have a week of Synod meetings, which give us an opportunity to interact, present Safe Church, and follow up with safe church related issues as needed. Our annual Safe Church mailing also takes place during the summer, in preparation for Abuse Awareness Sunday, which comes up pretty quickly in September. Situations (cases or allegations of abuse) donâ€™t seem to take much of a break during the summer; consultation regarding situations happens in varying degrees year round. Additionally, (though weâ€™re getting a late start this year) this will be the third summer with a part time (10 hours/week) summer student intern here in the office. Hiring someone takes a bit of effort, but weâ€™ve been very blessed by each of our student interns. And of course this year we are busy planning for our bi-annual conference. So, things donâ€™t slow down too much in this ministry.
Synod 2016 dealt with Church Articles 82-84 and their Supplements, which pertain to reinstatement after church leader misconduct. Synod approved all of the recommendations from our committee. There are some who will say that the recommendations donâ€™t go far enough. Yet, itâ€™s a good step in the right direction and represents real progress, especially in acknowledging the power differential inherent in ministry relationships. More information about what took place at Synod can be found here. The full report can be found in the Agenda to Synod 2016 Supplement â€“ Appendix B pp. 1-19. Soon we begin the work of creating a resource that is accessible to congregations (especially church councils), which can provide practical guidance in the midst of these situations (it may include parts of the report). I will be seeking input as this resource is developed. If you are a safe church team member and would like to be part of the team that provides input, please let me know. Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org that says, â€œIâ€™d like to provide input on the resource for church leader misconductâ€ and Iâ€™ll be in touch.