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Church News

Archbishop of Canterbury reaffirms apology to abuse victims as Church of England approves financial compensation

The Archbishop of Canterbury has once again apologised to those who have suffered abuse at the hands of Church of England clergy. In comments delivered to the General Synod on Wednesday, Justin Welby "reaffirmed" his apology and admitted that the church has not yet "satisfied the conditions to be a safe Church." 

"There is much more to be done," he said during a debate in the Synod on its response to the recommendations of the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA). In a vote taken, on Wednesday, the Synod approved a motion to compensate victims of sexual abuse.

“It will mean money, serious money – and we will need to work out how we’re going to fund that,” said the bishop of Huddersfield, Jonathan Gibbs, who is taking over as lead bishop on safeguarding issues at the end of the month.

The Church of England's outgoing lead bishop for safeguarding, Peter Hancock, insisted that "significant progress" had been made regarding the church's policies on the prevention of abuse. However, in some extraordinary remarks, Hancock admitted that his endeavours to develop policy in the church over the past four years has left him "angry and bitterly ashamed at how the Church I love has behaved." 

"These developments, while incredibly welcome, have come about too slowly, and we have much further to travel on our safeguarding journey," he said, according to Christian Today.

"As lead bishop for safeguarding, I've seen first hand that there remains a very real danger that when safeguarding is discussed in the Church, that we still experience it as something 'other' or as somebody else's responsibility.

"I know that safeguarding must be at the very heart of all of our work in the Church, embedded in our theology, in our mission, in our practice and in our policies." 

Reporting from the General Synod, Rev Canon Jonathan Ford told Premier: "There was a tremendous sense of sadness and anger that we not only let ourselves down but we primarily let the people who were victims down.

"Not only was there a willingness to put our money where our mouths are -- we are going to find all the money we need to compensate these people -- but it's not just the money; we want these people to be able to reconstruct their lives, to be given a sense of purpose and welcome.

"We are going to do everything we can for them, even if they don't come to church anymore, because we owe them.

"There was a profound sense of grief, but a determination to look after these people properly now and treat future cases seriously." 

 

Lord, 

We cannot imagine the pain experienced by those who have suffered abuse. Comfort them, God, we pray. 

Father, we ask also that you cleanse your church of all unrighteousness. Shine a light on the darkness, Lord.

We pray that you give strength to those who are pursuing truth and justice.

In your name, 

Amen

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