The relevance of faith and belief, including faith and belief grounded in scripture, to cases of abuse within the Church of England - historic abuse and attempts to prevent abuse. Some shocking information about cases of abuse in the Church of England.  The importance of open and honest 'declarations of belief' as well as 'declarations of interest.'

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My other FEFE page on churches is far more wide-ranging than this page.

 

Almost all the evidence and examples on this page come from the Church Of England but the argument and criticism are applicable to other Churches, Catholic as well as Protestant to a greater, lesser or in some cases a minimal extent.

 

 

 The documentation, the evidence I use, is very wide-ranging and will surely be relevant to readers well beyond the limits of this city. Some of the documentation is very specific, including the names of Safeguarding Officers in Anglican Churches (only a few names at the moment, but I intend to add many others.) I regard these people as not in the least obscure people who shouldn't be given the least publicity, whose beliefs and actions (or lack of action in some cases) shouldn't be scrutinized. The Church of England obviously regards them as important, as playing an important role in the new, vigorous system  for combatting abuse within the Church. (I provide evidence that the 'new, vigorous' system  is still grossly deficient.)

 

In the first column of this page, I give information about 'declarations of belief,' which have similarities with the 'declarations of interest,' adopted by organizations determined to show that their operations are open and honest. I give reasons for thinking that the Churches are
anything but open and honest in their approach to abuse within the church - or the implications of their beliefs.

 

The main sections of the page (or the longest sections) are accompanied with some much shorter ones:

 

Quotations from other sites

 

Donating to the Church, giving time to the Church

 

Contesting my views

 

Supplementary material



I provide reasoned argument and evidence, so I begin with a fact.  Jesus lived in a place which was part of the Roman Empire and the Roman Empire was, of course, a slave-owning society.  Owners of slaves had almost unlimited power over their slaves.  Roman Citizens  were allowed to exploit their slaves for sex, to rape, torture and abuse their slaves - their property - without  prosecution.

The hideous sufferings of the slaves, men, women and children, would have been witnessed by everyone. This was not in the least a hidden world. Everyone would have witnessed public displays of cruelty - the flogging of slaves, the killing of slaves, the buying and selling of slaves, including the buying and selling of children separated from their parents, including the children now available for gross abuse to new owners. But there's no record of any indignation, no record of any attempts at abolition, no record of any attempts at reform.

The  indifferent people included Jesus. Jesus had nothing to say about slavery and nothing to say about sexual abuse of slaves or the torture and killing of slaves.

'St' Paul followed the Master. His travels will have given him a wider experience of the horrors of slavery in the Roman Empire than Jesus, but Jesus as well as 'St' Paul couldn't possibly have been unaware of these horrors. But neither of them thought of them as 'horrors,' requiring not just reform but elimination, by banning slavery. recognized 'the horrors of slavery.' He saw no reason to abolish the institution of slavery. 'St' Paul's attention was on a very different matter, salvation through belief in Christ as Lord and Saviour.  If a pagan slave-owner forced babies and children to have sex but the slave owner eventually 'accepted Jesus Christ as his Lord and Saviour' then he became 'a brother in Christ' and was saved. 

A slave who was forced to have sex with a master at the age of five and who was eventually tortured to death as an adult without ever accepting Jesus Christ as his 'Lord and Saviour' was damned, destined for eternal separation from God.

Let's hear no more  anguished pleas to follow 'Christ's teaching' as a way - the only way - to end the scandal of Church inactivity, Church complacency, Church complicity in the gross abuse of children and vulnerable adults. Let's hear no more complacent pleas to follow 'Christ's teaching' as a way - the only way - to end wars, eliminate the many problems facing communities, from violent crime to illegal dumping of rubbish in streets.

Realistically, it will be quite some time before the Church of England and other Churches recognize the true scale of the challenge. The abandonment of cherished beliefs, fundamental beliefs, is called for. There's no sign that the Churches are ready to make this sacrifice. 

There's no sign that the Churches are ready to condemn wholeheartedly such Biblical passages as these, to recognize the stupidity, the inhumanity of 'Bible-based' teaching:

Psalm 137, extract

 

Babylon, you will be destroyed.
Happy are those who pay you back
for what you have done to us -
who take your babies
and smash them against a rock.

 

My view is that this is  a piece of primitive, vindictive, sadistic nonsense. Christians, Church goers, clergy, safeguarding officers, what is your view?

 

Another piece of primitive, vindictive, sadistic nonsense:


Psalm 109, extract

The Complaint of Someone in Trouble

 

 I praise you, God; don't remain silent!

Wicked people and liars have attacked me.

They tell lies about me

and they say evil things about me,

attacking me for no reason.

They oppose me, even though I love them

and have prayed for them.

They pay me back evil for good

and hatred for love.

Choose some corrupt judge to try my enemy,

and let one of his own enemies accuse him.

May he be tried and found guilty;

may even his prayer be considered a crime!

May his life soon be ended;

may someone else take his job!

May his children become orphans,

and his wife a widow!

May his children be homeless beggars;

may they be driven from the ruins they live in!
May his creditors take away all his property,

and may strangers get everything he worked for.

May no one ever be kind to him

or care for the orphans he leaves behind.


 The extracts are from the 'Good News (!) translation of the Bible.'


A very brief extract from an extended piece


https://www.blackburn.anglican.org/news/274/letter-from-senior-clergy-reflecting-on-

written by some Bishops of the Church of England on the Church's failures to prevent and take effective action to combat gross sexual abuse of children and vulnerable adults:

Dear Friends,

The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse

Case Studies into the Diocese of Chichester and the response to allegations against Peter Ball

‘Have mercy on us O God, for we have sinned.’ (Psalm 51,1)

It is very hard not to hear David’s plaintive cry as we read the pages of the report of the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse on the Diocese of Chichester and the Peter Ball case. What cries out most clearly is the desperate suffering of those who have been victims of sexual abuse by clergy and church leaders and the lifelong impact it has had on them.

We are writing to urge all of you to take the time to read the report which, whilst coming from a secular body, surely speaks to the church with something of a prophetic voice in the challenges it lays before us.

The IICSA report is long and more will follow, but it seems to us to be vital reading for all who exercise leadership in the Church of England (it can be found here: http://bit.ly/2WwSaPN ).

This comes, as ever, with our prayers.

Yours in Christ,

The Rt Revd Julian Henderson (Bishop of Blackburn)

The Rt Revd Philip North (Bishop of Burnley)

The Rt Revd Dr Jill Duff (Bishop of Lancaster)

The Very Revd Peter Howell-Jones (Dean of Blackburn)

The Ven Michael Everitt (Archdeacon of Lancaster)

The Ven Mark Ireland (Archdeacon of Blackburn)

Comments and questions

David's plaintive cry is one verse from one particular Psalm, 51:1. What do the Bishops make of  Psalms 137 and 151, quoted in extract above? I think that all the Bishops who signed this letter would agree that all the Psalms are the Word of God. What do they make of the obvious difficulties? How would they defend these passages?

To confine attention to just two of the signatories, Julian Henderson, Bishop of Blackburn and Jill Duff, the Bishop of Lancaster - these Bishops are Conservative Evangelicals.

The need for an open and honest 'Declaration of Belief:'

This is a statement of Conservative Evangelical beliefs. It comes from 'Church Society,' a Conservative Evangelical group in the Church of England. It's disastrously misguided, I'd claim, with alarming implications for a very wide range of Church action, including action in the area of abuse of children and vulnerable adults. But versions of Christian faith which seem much more advanced, much less primitive, are open to difficulties, not least the difficulty of reconciling the 'advanced' views with the primitive 'teaching' to be found in the Old and New Testaments.

According to Church Society (which takes care to present its view as established doctrine of theChurch of England)

' ...  all people are under the judgement of God and his righteous anger burns against them.  Unless a person is reconciled to God they are under His condemnation and His just judgement against them is that they will be separated from Him forever in Hell. (Romans 1 v18, 2 v16, Revelation 20 v15)

 

 'Jesus will come back and the world will end, there will then be a final judgement where those who have not accepted Jesus will be cast into hell with Satan and his angels. Christians will receive new bodies and live in eternal bliss in the presence of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Spirit. (Hebrews 9 v27, Revelation 20 v11, 1 Corinthians 15 v51)

 

'The biblical way of salvation has often been attacked over the centuries, however it is stated clearly in the 39 Articles of the Church of England:

Article 6: Of the sufficiency of the holy Scriptures for salvation.

Article 1: Faith in the Holy Trinity

Article 9: Of Original or Birth-sin

Article 2: The Word, or Son of God, who became truly man

Article 4: The resurrection of Christ

Article 11: Of the Justification of Man

'Unless a person is reconciled to God they are under his condemnation ...' Good works are no defence. Article XII 'Of Good Works' states

 

'Good Works ... cannot put away our sins, and endure the severity of God's Judgement.' Whether the good works include bringing safe drinking water to people ravaged by water-borne diseases such as cholera by means of massive engineering works, or rescuing Jews from the Nazis, or opposing the Nazis by heroic action in battle, or everyday goodness and self-sacrifice, if there's no belief in Jesus Christ, the good works are ignared, in this loathsome scheme, and there's no salvation.

 

But action to prevent sexual abuse of children and vulnerable adults is also an example of 'Good Works' and is ignored in this loathsome scheme.

 

Documentation of cases of abuse in the Church of England and other Churches isn't my main purpose on this page and other places in the site. It's available in other places. An Internet search will reveal many sources of information, but I give some information about abusers, making the point, as almost always in connection with these cases, that they reveal alarming deficiencies in orthodox Christian doctrine - or not so much 'deficiencies' as issues which should make it impossible to regard Christian doctrines, such as doctrines of redemption, seriously  These cases will be familiar to many people but many others will know nothing or next to nothing about them. There are large numbers of these cases.

 


The 'Urban Theology Unit,' based on Sheffield, offers short courses and study days on a variety of subjects, including 'Exploring Hebrew Scriptures.' It's clear that the Unit has absolutely no idea of the massive difficulties, the insuperable difficulties in accepting the Hebrew Scriptures as the Word of God, or inspired by God, or much more vague and tentative views of the Hebrew scriptures. As for Jesus Christ himself, he obviously accepted the Hebrew Scriptures as the Word of God, including this, 'Put to death any woman who practises witchcraft.'

From the Website of the 'Urban Theology Unit,'

https://utusheffield.org.uk/home/


'UTU has a variety of short courses and study days available on a wide range of subjetcs, [Spelling as on the Urban Theology Unit page]  from Exploring Hebew [Spelling as on the Urban Theology Unit page] Scriptures to ... '

Their Website

https://utusheffield.org.uk/kingdombasedevangelism/

also includes this claim concerning a pet project, Kingdom-based Evangelism,

'Kingdom-based Evangelism is a shorthand term for the kind of radical, open, liberating and respectful approach to faith-sharing and discipleship that has been at the heart of UTU’s work from the outset.

'It is based on the kingdom concept, as presented mainly in Mark’s Gospel, where Jesus encourages people to see God’s kingdom as a place of justice, joy,  healing and peace — often encapsulated in the Jewish word Shalom.

'It also includes the kin’dom [spelling here and in other places as on the Urban Theology Unit page] idea that followers of Jesus are all ‘brothers and sisters in Christ’ ...

'We welcome contributions of all sorts from other people who feel our passion for kin’dom and Jesus-life-based evangelism

'We also hope that the Pack will grow, and be complemented with content in other media. We welcome contributions of all sorts from other people who feel our passion for kin’dom and Jesus-life-based evangelism ...'

My own experiences of  the Church of England's inadequate - grossly inadequate - response to some matters to do with safeguarding.

 

First of all: a matter I brought to the attention of the Past Cases Review of the Sheffield Diocese in an email of 24 November, 2021. This concerns safeguarding in the most common sense of the word, or the word as used now, safeguarding against sexual abuse, the protection of vulnerable people. But I'd also include my experiences of the grossly deficient response to issues of safeguarding in the wider sense - protection of people against avoidable harm, issues to do with general safety. These are discussed in detail in my general page on FEFE. I include here an update to the information provided there. It concerns the Church of England Church Army and to me, it involves important issues, including police time, demands on the police, wasting police time.

 

 

As for the first issue, I received a prompt (automatic) reply to inform me that 'a member of the Safeguarding Team' of the Past Cases Review would be responding to my query 'within 3 working days.'

 

The  'Safeguarding Team didn't respond within 3 working days. More than  six weeks after I received this automatic acknowledgement  from the Past Cases Review, I've heard nothing more.

 

An extract from the email: It concerns a Church in Sheffield which for the time being I don't name. I've removed any information which could give clues as to the identity of the Church or my 'informant.' I don't even give information as to whether my 'informant' is male or female or whether the person who is alleged to have carried out some form of abuse is male or female.  I provided various people at the Church, including the vicar and the safeguarding officer, with a copy of the email in printed form. The only contact information for the Parish Safeguarding Officer on the Church Website was a phone number.  When I called the number, I found it was the general phone number for the Church. I wrote, 'the matter is a sensitive one, with a need for confidential disclosure,' so I provided the information in the form of a letter in a sealed envelope.

 

 I've heard nothing about the matter from anyone at the Church, apart from the briefest of mentions - I was told that the matter was being dealt with by the Past Cases Review.

 

The extract. 'The Church' in this extract isn't the Church of England but this particular Church, for the time being left unnamed.


'I refer to the person who provided the information here as my 'informant,' but the information was given simply in the course of an everyday conversation. This was well before the emergence of claims - so many of them well supported, with a wealth of evidence - concerning sexual abuse in the Church of England, at a time when attempts were made to minimize the impact on the reputation of the Church of England. Obviously, the situation now is very different, at least in matters relating to the handling of abuse claims, with far greater openness.


'I  knew my informant well ...  over a long period of time. To me, he/she was at all times an honest and sincere person. I lost contact with him/her about 18 years ago but unexpectedly met again recently. At the time I knew him/her, she was a member of the congregation at [the] Church and I found during our recent conversation that he/she is still a member.


'During the period when I knew him/her well, she gave me information about an alleged abuser with connections with the Church. The information relates to matters which occurred, according to her, some years before ... According to the information I received, which obviously is not necessarily a matter of fact established with evidence ... the abuse or transgressions alleged weren't made clear to me, and the position occupied by [the person]  at the Church  wasn't made clear to me, the response of the Church was made abundantly clear, but again, I have absolutely no way of confirming the veracity of her account. According to my informant, the Church took the decision not to inform the police or other officials but to make sure that her then husband moved to a different part of the country. The tactic of moving the culprit without contacting the authorities has since become widely publicized, but at the time I received the information it had no prominence.


'Again, I stress the obvious point that the alleged abuser is not necessarily guilty of any offence or misbehaviour - I lack any evidence to confirm this. I would also stress the obvious point that the Church was not necessarily at fault for ensuring that my informant's former husband was moved to a different part of the country. I lack any confirming evidence that the Church took this decision or that he did move. I simply state that to me, there seems to be a case to answer, and that investigations into the matter would be desirable. If the Church did actually decide to ensure that this man moved, instead of informing the authorities, then it may be that the matter was concealed, that no written records can now be found - but yet again, I have absolutely no evidence to present in favour of this hypothetical situation.'

 

 I heard nothing about the matter from anyone at the Church, apart from the briefest of mentions - I was told that the matter was being dealt with by the Past Cases Review. If it was being dealt with, it wasn't being dealt with in a way that inspires the least confidence.

 

The page

 

https://www.sheffield.anglican.org/safeguarding

 

gives this information:

 
If you need safeguarding advice then please contact Siân Checkley (07741 013775 or sian.checkley@sheffield.anglican.org) or Elina Penttila (07871796682 or elina.penttila@Sheffield.anglican.org).

Cherryl Henry-Leach is the Cathedral Safeguarding Advisor. For all enquiries about safeguarding at the Cathedral, or to report a concern, please contact Cherryl Henry-Leach (07879 418 230 or email cherryl.henryleach@sheffield-cathedral.org.uk).

It also includes this:

'Safeguarding is ... the prevention of harm, and the promotion of well-being.' This is close to my understanding of safeguarding in the wider sense. I wrote above, ' But I'd also include my experiences of the grossly deficient response [on the part of Church members] to issues of safeguarding in the wider sense - protection of people against avoidable harm, issues to do with general safety.'

 

An update on Lu Skerratt-Love and her

 

On 23 November 2021, I received a communication from South Yorkshire Police to inform me that SYP had received a complaint from Lu Skerratt-Love regarding some emails that I'd sent her and the Church in early October.


The background is extensive but I hope the information I provide will help to clarify matters. Lu Skerratt-Love has been and still may be a prominent advocate of the 'forest church' movement in Sheffield. 'Forest Churches' have become synonymous with 'Garden Churches.' In September, Lu Skerratt-Love publicized on the Website of St Mark's Church a new initiative - work on a garden church/forest church at the Walkley Bank Allotment Site in Sheffield. I have two allotments at the same site. There are many reasons why I found the proposal to begin a church at the allotment site problematic, in fact misguided, and I set out the reasons in an email sent to St Mark's Church (since the Church had, after all, publicized the new venture) and to Lu Skerratt-Love. The email was sent on 8 September, 2021. The concerns I mentioned in the email involved practical difficulties, difficulties to do with security and difficulties to do with the law. Before I give some extracts from my email, I'll mention the fact that the email in which I outlined my concerns never reached Lu Skerratt-Love. I sent the email to her Church Army email address. Lu Skerratt-Love is employed by the Church Army. I sent a copy of the email to Tim Ling of the Church Army. It seems that either St Mark's Church or the Church Army brought the email to the attention of Lu Skerratt-Love. Tim Ling promptly blocked emails from me, not just emails addressed to Lu Skerratt-Love but emails to all members of his department, a research department. 


I find it incredible that Lu Skerratt-Love contacted South Yorkshire Police with a complaint concerning emails from me on or shortly before 23 November  when she must have known that ever since 8 September or shortly after no emails from me could possibly have reached her, since my emails were blocked. Given that my email concerning the garden church was matter of fact, simply pointing out certain difficulties, the decision to block emails was outrageous, a completely unwarranted attempt to stifle reasonable communication.

 

I take the view that Lu Skerratt-Love has wasted police time, expecting them to censor my emails when she must have known that no emails from me could possibly reach her.

 

The email I sent to her and a few other recipients concerned matters to do with protecion of people using the site which Church members, knowing nothing of allotment law or ignoring it, had decided should be used for Christian worship and evangelism, ignoring the problems to do with security and safety. I can easily justify the claim that the email I sent was about safeguarding in the wider, established sense of the word.

 

As yet, the Garden Church hasn't held a single event at the allotment site. Months ago, it was announced that the first event would be delayed until some issues to do with security had been solved. It was my email, blocked by Tim Ling of the Church Army, which pointed out the security and safety risks.

 

Lu Skerratt-Love and other members of the St Mark's congregation travelled to London to take part in Extinction Rebellion protests. I take the view that these protests wasted police time and infuriated so many members of the public for no tangible benefit. I take the view that Lu Skerratt's attempt to suppress emails was a clear-cut waste of police time, damaging to liberal values and damaging to something very different, her reputation as a Christian believer.

 

In my profile of All Saints Church Aston and its 'authorized lay minister,' Captain Neil Thomson CA' on my page

 

www.linkagenet.com/themes/fefe.htm

 

(the 'CA' stands for 'Church Army' - this is an employee of the Church Army) I quote this from the Church's Website:

 

The Church Safeguarding Officer 'takes responsibility for our Safeguarding matters, she arranges DBS checks on recruitment and is the person to deal with any safeguarding matter.' I don't give her name here. I discuss the advice in completely general terms, without reference to All Saints Church. As general advice, in any Church of England Church, it seems to me to be very flawed, inadvisable at the least and in some situations I give reasons for thinking it would be disastrously flawed.

 

There may be very good reasons why a  Church's Safeguarding Officer isn't 'the person to deal with any safeguarding matter.'

 

Some safeguarding concerns should be reported directly to the police. Safeguarding Officers don't in general have specialist legal knowledge or a comprehensive knowledge of safeguarding issues. The police are far more likely to know of abuse issues in the local community than the Safeguarding Officer.

 

If the issue concerns a member of staff (or 'the team') then it may well be that the judgment of a Church Safeguarding Officer may be poor. Abusers are sometimes 'lovely people,' allegedly. Julie Morris, the safeguarding lead at St George's Central Church of England Primary School, Wigan, was in fact described as a 'lovely person.'. She and her partner, David Morris  filmed themselves abusing and raping a girl under the age of 13 in a series of videos. The two were sentenced to imprisonment for a total of 29 years.

 

Assuming that the Safeguarding Officer isn't an abuser himself or herself - the case at practically every Church, probably, a person at a Church who is an abuser may well be a dominant person, controlling many, many people at a Church - including the Safeguarding Officer.

 

A Safeguarding Officer may mean well, may be sincere, or superficially sincere, but utterly ineffectual, lacking the drive and the energy and the willingness to pursue a case to a successful conclusion, or lacking the ability to judge the evidence, to judge the honesty and reliability of someone claiming to have been abused. A good Safeguarding Officer would need a wide range of skills and personal qualities, a combination not found everywhere - in every Church, in this case. It's easy to appoint someone to a post who isn't in the least fitted for the responsibility. Training can't convert an unsuitable person into a suitable person. Training can be perfunctory or even a waste of time - a complete waste of time - even training looks good on a Website.

 

My own experience of Church people has given me insights into the nastiness and limitations of so many Church people. A belief in Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour is absolutely to guarantee that the believer has empathy, human sympathies, an understanding of troubled lives, absolutely no guarantee that the person can be firm where firmness is needed and understanding where understanding is needed.

 

Quotations from other sites

 

From a very useful and informative site, one I find impressive - although the contributors to the site will find my own viewpoint very different from their own (Christian) perspective and won't endorse my own anti-Christian views.

 

https://richardwsymonds.wordpress.com/tag/stephen-parsons-surviving-church/

'Al-Husseini’s article also mentions the fact that the Church of England nationally employs one particularly aggressive law firm to protect its interests.  A particular lawyer in this firm has acquired from survivors the nickname the Pitbull on account of her techniques of intimidation and merciless interrogation of survivors.   The article overall gives us some insight into a thoroughly unpleasant culture.  On the outside there are pleasing soft words, tears of remorse and apology.  Inside we find a ruthless machine full of hard-headed professional reputation people aligned to aggressive lawyers desperate to defend, at all costs, the institution.'

 

The same Web page gives a quotation from an article by Gabriella Swerling published in 'The Daily Telegraph,'

 

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2020/12/02/exclusive-church-englands-child-protection-director-quits-18/

 

The Church of England’s child protection boss has quit after 18 months amid claims that she faces too much resistance from clergy.

Melissa Caslake was appointed as the church’s first permanent Director of Safeguarding in April last year. She will take up a role as Director of Children’s Services with a local authority in the New Year.

 

However, The Telegraph has spoken to sources who claim that after just over a year and a half in the role, Ms Caslake “wouldn’t be leaving unless she felt that task had become impossible”…

 

…A source said: “Half of the leadership of the Church of England knows that it needs to change to survive, but the other half feels that survival depends on preventing change at all costs.”

“Melissa Caslake is a dedicated and competent safeguarding professional. She was brought in to reform the church’s safeguarding practice. She wouldn’t be leaving unless she felt that task had become impossible. Perhaps she has discovered what many victims know from bitter experience – that the church is simply too complex, too defensive, and too self-absorbed to face up to its own cruelty…”

 

Donating to the Church, giving time to the Church

 

People who donate money to a Church or an organization connected with a Church, often substantial amounts of money, or money which is a substantial proportion of their available money, should reconsider. I think that the prevalence of abuse in Churches is one good reason for reducing financial support, better still, stopping financial support, but there are many others. My pages on Christianity,  my main page on Christianity and the two FEFE pages, give wide-ranging argument and evidence. There are innumerable other causes and organizations which are far more deserving of support. I include causes and organizations which relieve animal suffering as well as human suffering - causes and organizations which benefit the arts, including music and literature, ones which combat gross human rights abuses - and a very wide range of other issues. Animal rights suffering, the arts and a whole variety of other issues are ignored just about completely in the Bible, of course. Money donated to a Church is money which could go to a far more deserving cause.

 

Time given to Church activities is time which could be given to other things. Time given to Bible reading is time which could be given to wide reading.

 

Contesting my views

 

This is from my general page FEFE:

 

Any individual or Church criticized on this page or mentioned on this page, any individual reading this page, is welcome to email me with comments, including critical comments. The email, like other emails sent to me, will remain confidential but I'm willing to publish  emails sent to me on this page or another page of the site if requested. But in my experience, Christians aren't in the least willing to defend their faith against challenges with argument and evidence of their own.

 

When demands have been made that I should remove material from this site - these demands have been made - then I haven't complied. I won't remove material from the site in the future in the same circumstances. When evidence is provided  that my comments are unfair then I'm completely willing to modify the comment or remove it altogether if I find that the criticism is valid. So far, the evidence has never been provided but I'm always happy to consider evidence in the future and to modify or remove material if necessary.

 

I take care to revise material on this page and other pages to improve it and to make the material as fair as I can possibly make it, taking into accounts the constraints of time.

 

Of course, critics with their own Website or able to publish on other Websites are free to criticize this page and other pages of the site if they want. There's an abundance of Church Websites available for the purpose.

 

It's likely that the profiles, of people and churches, will be found very challenging. Instead of demanding that the material be removed - but  I've made it clear that I'm willing to consider voluntary removal of material, if a case is made, with arguments and evidence - then people at these churches, the ones with profiles and ones who may find a profile of themselves in future, should consider presenting arguments and evidence.

There's an abundance of paid and unpaid Church staff and church members but this site is the work of just one person, myself. (To give just a few examples,  the many, many theologians at  Durham University and Cambridge University, the many, many staff at Sheffield Cathedral, and the many, many staff at Sheffield Churches.) If these people can't come up with convincing arguments and reliable evidence to counter the arguments and evidence I provide, there's something badly wrong. If they claim to have the convincing arguments and the reliable evidence  but they're unwilling to provide it, there's something badly wrong.

The Church includes theologians with knowledge of the many branches of theology - Christologists, hamartiologists, soteriologists, eschatologists, ecclesiologists, pneumatologists, patrologists, mariologists ...

I can claim that I've a much greater knowledge of theology than the majority of non-Christians and anti-Christians - my knowledge includes knowledge of New Testament Greek, so I'm not dependent on translations of the New Testament. I've enough knowledge of Biblical Hebrew to recognize some of the pitfalls and errors of Old Testament translation.  But again, the theological  resources available to the churches are vastly greater than my own. But knowledge of what the Old Testament and New Testament states and the doctrines based on these texts or based upon decisions of the Church is a different matter from the trustworthiness of the knowledge and the doctrines. To give one example, a theologian may have an exhaustive knowledge of the doctrine that unbaptized babies can't go to heaven, the history of the doctrine, the so-called 'proofs' of the doctrine allegedly based on scripture and the decisions of the Church - but the doctrine surely amounts to complete stupidity.

The faith of Christians supposedly gives them massive advantages. They are supposedly walking in the light, whilst I'm supposedly walking in darkness. They have the supposed advantage of prayer - they can pray that they defeat me, or defeat my views. The power of prayer, in the fantasy world of these people. Prayer gives strength - according to Christian theory. Prayer enables the believer to defeat the arguments and evidence of the non-believer, allegedly. Does it really? Who would have thought it?

They have comforting words of Scripture, such as these:

'Ask the Spirit for words, he is not the Spirit of fear. (Romans 8:15)

 'Do not worry about what to say or how to say it. At that time you will be given what to say, for it will not be you speaking but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you”. (Matthew 10:19-20).

People who find a challenging profile on this page, an existing profile or one added later, have very great advantages - but I think that the advantages are illusory. In my experience, Christians exuding confidence and certainty suddenly become evasive and hesitant when presented with argument and evidence - not just hesitant but unable or unwilling to give any sort of answer. They can either give counter-arguments and counter-evidence and / or turn to the consolations of faith, which may (or may not) meet their needs.

Supplementary material

 

This is material which isn't less important or peripheral but which would is better provided here rather than within the longest section of the page, which proceeds fairly rapidly. As in the case of the other sections, it will be revised and extended.

 

Darwin and slavery in Brazil

 

This is Darwin on slavery in Brazil, from his book 'The Voyage of the 'Beagle.' This impassioned denunciation of the horrors of slavery is from a different moral world than the ones promoted by Jesus, silent about slavery, or his follower 'St' Paul, whose few perfunctory remarks on slavery are a disgrace. An example (Ephesians 6:5):

 

'Slaves, obey your human masters with fear and trembling; and do it with a sincere heart, as though you were serving Christ.'

 

Another example from 'Holy Scripture,' the 'Word of God.' This call to submit to floggers, torturers and child abusers - and to less sadistic people who had the power to separate parents from their children by selling them to different owners - is from 1 Peter 2:18.

 

'Slaves, in reverent fear of God submit yourselves to your masters, not only to those who are good and considerate, but also to those who are harsh.

 

 

According to Christian belief, Darwin, a non-believer, is estranged from Christ whilst 'St' Paul is in union with Christ. Estrangement from the Christ is vastly preferable to union with the Christ.

 

The horrors of slavery in recent centuries are far better documented than the horrors of slavery during the Roman Empire, when Jesus and 'St' Paul mere preaching and teaching, ignoring and misinterpreting. Slaves working in the mines and doing other manual work would certainly have led lives of almost unimaginable horror, but large numbers of slaves doing domestic work would have led lives of almost unimaginable horror too, subjected to frequent or daily abuse, including sexual abuse, in many cases. If a master (or mistress) wanted to have a boy slave castrated, there was no law to stop the master or mistress. If a master (or mistress) wanted to have a girl slave flogged repeatedly, tortured repeatedly there was nothing to stop the master or mistress.

 

Darwin on slavery in Brazil:

On the 19th of August we finally left the shores of Brazil. I thank God, I shall never again visit a slave-country. To this day, if I hear a distant scream, it recalls with painful vividness my feelings, when passing a house near Pernambuco, I heard the most pitiable moans, and could not but suspect that some poor slave was being tortured, yet knew that I was as powerless as a child even to remonstrate. I suspected that these moans were from a tortured slave, for I was told that this was the case in another instance. Near Rio de Janeiro I lived opposite to an old lady, who kept screws to crush the fingers of her female slaves. I have stayed in a house where a young household mulatto, daily and hourly, was reviled, beaten, and persecuted enough to break the spirit of the lowest animal. I have seen a little boy, six or seven years old, struck thrice with a horse-whip (before I could interfere) on his naked head, for having handed me a glass of water not quite clean; I saw his father tremble at a mere glance from his master's eye. These latter cruelties were witnessed by me in a Spanish colony, in which it has always been said that slaves are better treated than by the Portuguese, English, or other European nations. I have seen at Rio de Janeiro a powerful negro afraid to ward off a blow directed, as he thought, at his face. I was present when a kind-hearted man was on the point of separating forever the men, women, and little children of a large number of families who had long lived together ...

Those who look tenderly at the slave owner, and with a cold heart at the slave, never seem to put themselves into the position of the latter;--what a cheerless prospect, with not even a hope of change! picture to yourself the chance, ever hanging over you, of your wife and your little children--those objects which nature urges even the slave to call his own--being torn from you and sold like beasts to the first bidder! And these deeds are done and palliated by men who profess to love their neighbours as themselves, who believe in God, and pray that His Will be done on earth!

 

 


      

 

 

Julie Morris, Deputy Headteacher, Staff Governor and Safeguarding Lead at St George's Central Church of England Primary School, Wigan: child abuser

 

The information in this section about the horrific crimes of Julie Morris and her partner is followed by striking information about an OFSTED inspection of the school and information about the response of the school to the conviction of its Deputy Headteacher and Safeguarding Lead.

 

From the page

 

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-merseyside-59754035

 

A primary school deputy head teacher and her partner have been jailed for dozens of child sexual abuse offences, including nine counts of rape.

Julie Morris, 44, the safeguarding lead at a school in Wigan, and David Morris filmed themselves abusing and raping a girl under the age of 13.

The teacher was jailed for 13 years and four months.

Her 52-year-old partner, of St Helens, admitted 34 offences at a previous hearing and was jailed for 16 years.

Julie Morris, of Hindley, worked at St George's Central C of E Primary School in Wigan but the charges are not related to her employment.

Liverpool Crown Court heard the videos showed Julie Morris giggling as the abuse took place.

Honorary Recorder of Liverpool, Judge Andrew Menary, said: "Every now and again you see cases, the circumstances of which are almost beyond belief. This is one of those cases.

"It demonstrates that human depravity really knows no depths."

The Crown Prosecution Service said it was one of the most horrific cases they have had to deal with.

"It truly appears like both of them were equally involved," district crown prosecutor Damion Lloyd said.

"They've formed this horrendous sexual interest in children and they've acted out their most unpleasant fantasies on the victim.

"It feels like the relationship between them is just a self-feeding cycle where they have effectively driven each other on to worse and worse acts."

In his 20 years of prosecuting, he said it was the "pinnacle" of the most "disgusting and depraved types of acts that people can discuss and do".

...

 

Julie Morris admitted two counts of rape, nine of inciting a child under the age of 13 to engage in sexual activity and two of engaging in sexual activity in the presence of a child.

She also admitted three counts of taking indecent images of a child, one of engaging in sexual communication with a child and one of possessing indecent images of a child.

 

 

Historical abuse at St Thomas Church, Sheffield

 

STC was previously 'St Thomas Church.' St Thomas Church, Sheffield has an infamous place in the history of abuse within the Church.

 

Church House Publishing is the 'official publisher of the Church of England' according to their Website.

 

https://www.chpublishing.co.uk/authors/robert-warren

 

 

According to the Website, 'Robert Warren was Team Rector of one of the largest and fastest growing churches in England, St. Thomas Crookes.'

 

During the time that Robert Warren was Team Rector at St Thomas, the Church grew enormously, until it reached 600 members. The Church attracted national recognition. Church House Publishing neglects to mention that this spectacular growth was not due to Robert Warren but was the achievement of an energetic priest, Chris Brain.

 

The Website of STC, the successor to St Thomas Church

 

https://stthomascrookes.org/about/the-stc-story

 

has this:

'1985

 

'Following a visit from the well-known American Vineyard church pastor John Wimber, St Thomas’ Church became a renewal centre, and continued to grow and thrive.'

 

The Church may have grown, under the influence of Chris Brain,  but it didn't thrive, not in the least. Here, the Website distorts and manipulates the truth.

 

The late-night telephone calls were not at all what you would expect from a Church of England vicar contacting female members of his congregation.

Summoning selected women to his lavishly appointed home in Sheffield, the Reverend Chris Brain wanted help with what became known as ‘putting him to bed’. At the very least this meant giving him a massage, often while he was naked.

For some of his young followers, it stopped there. But for others, the encounters are said to have gone much further, with kissing and cuddling leading to intimacy described by one as covering ‘the whole spectrum of abuse’.

 

From the Website of St Thomas Church, Crookes, Sheffield (preferred name now, STC)

 

https://stthomascrookes.org/safeguarding/

 

'Safeguarding: STC Sheffield is committed to high standards in the safeguarding and care of children, young people and vulnerable adults.  Our Safeguarding Officer is Helen Ward ... '

 

I've every reason to believe that this is the case - more exactly, no reason whatsoever to believe that this isn't the case. The evidence that this hasn't always been the case is overwhelming. The fact is that safeguarding and care of vulnerable adults hasn't been a priority at St Thomas Church at all. St Thomas Church is the place where Chris Brain undertook his Christian ministry to young adults - vulnerable young adults, and adults who should have realized what was happening much earlier. St Thomas Church was the setting for the famous/ infamous Nine O' Clock Service. The service was famous at the time - in Church circles and beyond - and infamous later, in Church circles and beyond. At the time, many people there were gripped by waves of exultation, ecstasy, the overwhelming feeling that God was there, God was guiding them, through his servant / prophet / inspired leader Chris Brain. The waves of hysteria didn't last, and Chris Brain was revealed as a manipulator, complicit in emotional and sexual abuse.

 

Strongly recommended: a viewing of the Youtube video on the Nine o' clock Service

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QxwdyF3qZj8

 

From the Wikipedia entry:

 

Beginning as a simple alternative format service under the leadership of Chris Brain, the group responsible for it developed a leadership structure that was endorsed by the leadership of St Thomas' Church. The average age of the members was 24 for much of NOS's life. The membership was significantly from non-church backgrounds.

...

By 1988, David Lunn, then Bishop of Sheffield, sanctioned a move to a new site at Ponds Forge Rotunda in the centre of Sheffield. Around the same time, Chris Brain underwent training to be ordained as a priest in the Church of England. The Planetary Mass at Pond's Forge was marked by both bold liturgical experimentation and naive hopefulness. The suspended Roman Catholic priest and American Dominican theologian Matthew Fox was consulted.

In 1995, a number of complaints began to surface of the sexual abuse of women in the group by Chris Brain. After an investigation by the Diocese of Sheffield, the group was shut down in August 1995. The Bishop of Sheffield demanded Brain's resignation after he confessed to having sexual relationships with young women in the congregation. There were also calls from former members of the congregation that he be defrocked. The Archbishop of York banned Brain from acting as an ordained priest. Initially refusing to step down, Brain eventually resigned in November 1995, the week before a documentary on the abuse scandal was aired. He then checked himself into a psychiatric hospital ...

 

There are many, many pentecostal, 'charismatic,' evangelical churches, many, many 'mainstream' churches in which sexual abuse is unknown, but emotional manipulation of a congregation is common, so that the congregation mistakes hysteria for the presence of God, the working of God ...

 

Hope City Church

 

Any suggestion that faith in Jesus is the answer to the problems of Sheffield or the problems of the wider world, any suggestion that communities, or countries, can be transformed by the 'power of prayer,' any suggestion that Christians walk 'in the light' whilst non-Christians walk 'in the darkness' are contradicted by the revelations which have emerged from this Church: not divine revelations but revelations which include exclusions - exclusions of black people from roles in the Church in order to give a 'better' impression of the Church, so as not to deter, allegedly, white people from joining the Church, and many more, including gay people told that being gay was the work of the devil.

 

Of course, the churches in Sheffield don't leave this as just a 'suggestion.' To them, it's far too important to be left as just a 'suggestion,' regarded by so many of them as something which concerns the eternal destiny of the soul.

 

The vast majority of secular organizations in Sheffield manage to conduct their affairs without remotely meeting - or causing - such extreme problems as Hope City Church under the 'toxic' leadership of its founders.

Hope City Church was founded in Sheffield in 1991 by Dave and Jenny Gilpin, who had been a part of an Assemblies of God  church in Brisbane, Australia.

n 2020, the Senior Pastors of the church resigned due to allegations of racism. In June 2020,Dave and Jenny Gilpin resigned from their roles as senior leaders after Dave Glipin posted an apology to a black member of the church on Instagram admitting he tried to appeal to white people. He had taken the view that having black people on some Church teams would deter white people from joining the Church and, according to some, 'the senior pastor did not want to see black people in certain roles in order to manage appearance or first impressions. According to the report published after their resignations, the practice of marginalising people of colour 'had originated at the most senior level of leadership.'   

The Church undertook a big advertising campaign earlier in its history, including  of large billboards and the sides of buses to promote the organisation and assert that it was not a 'traditional' church.

An article in The Sunday Times stated that 'Hope City tries hard to attract young people, broadcasting its music-led services on YouTube, promoting slick social media pages and hosting frequent networking events. But, whistleblowers said the image hid a 'toxic' culture and accused the Gilpins of pursuing an 'evil agenda.'

The report assembled following the lead pastors' resignation also delved into the wider problems in the church's leadership culture. It pointed to, amongst other things, a lack of oversight, the lead pastor's overbearing style, a clique culture amongst those in the various churches' core teams, selective raising of younger leaders that would comply with authority without questioning it, the discouragement of raising concerns, which lead in part to the incidents of a racial nature listed above. Attention was also raised to the ongoing pressure placed on members to give to offerings, alongside a 'lack of transparency' in finances, which 'led to an 'erosion of trust' among some members.'

As for finances, Hope City Church has been criticised for promoting the 'prosperity gospel ,'suggesting members should make sizable and recurrent offerings in addition to the tithe n return for financial breakthrough and blessings

In March, 2018, a Channel 4 News report into City Hearts, a charity founded by the Church, 'uncovered allegations that untrained staff were left in charge of victims of trafficking and abuse.' It highlighted interviews with 'around 40 people who were cared for or worked for the City Hearts charity in Sheffield' who spoke of 'their concerns and claims of homophobia.' Individuals described on camera being coerced to disclose their abuse history on stage in front of the church congregation to pass the programme, or being told that being gay was the work of the devil, whilst a staff member described being unqualified and untrained, and told to respond to serious incidents including self-harm with suggestions of prayer and scripture.

 

The case of John Smyth

 

The abuser John Smyth, is the subject of a Channel 4 documentary

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S-tZVXQM-8Q&t=69s

 

In October 2020, an Investigation Report was published into child sexual abuse in the Anglican Church and the failure of the Church to take adequate action, or any action at all.

https://www.iicsa.org.uk/key-documents/22519/view/anglican-church-investigation-report-6-october-2020.pdf

From the BBC's report

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-54433295#:~:text=The%20Church%20of%20England%20failed,victims%20added%20to%20their%20trauma

The Church of England failed to protect children from sexual abuse, and created a culture where abusers "could hide", a report has concluded.

 

The Independent Inquiry into Child Sex Abuse's report says the Church's failure to respond consistently to abuse victims added to their trauma.

 

It added that alleged perpetrators were often given more support than victims.

 

 

The Church said it felt 'shame' over the failings detailed in the 'shocking report.

 

The report, which is the latest in a series of publications from the IICSA, said 390 clergy members and other church leaders were convicted of abuse between the 1940s and 2018.

The Church defended alleged perpetrators instead of protecting children and young people from sexual predators, the report added.

 

It cited the example of the late cathedral dean, Robert Waddington, about whom serious allegations were made in 1999. The then Archbishop of York said there was "simply no possibility" of the claims being correct.

 

It also cited Reverend Ian Hughes, from Merseyside, who was convicted in 2014 for downloading 8,000 indecent images of children. His offending was played down by a senior colleague.

 

 

The report also found examples of clergymen being ordained despite a history of child sexual offences.

 

The best known instance of a a sexual abuser in the Church of England is the evangelical John Smyth, the subject of the book

Bleeding For Jesus: John Smyth and the Cult of the Iwerne Camps by John Graystone.

 

Extract from the page

 

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/aug/21/bleeding-for-jesus-book-tells-story-of-qc-who-pitilessly-abused-young-men

 


After five years of sadistic beatings in a garden shed by one of the UK’s most prominent barristers, and with a “special beating” to mark his 21st birthday imminent, Andy Morse tried to take his own life.

 

The student had endured thousands of lashes on his naked buttocks administered in the name of Jesus by John Smyth QC. He could no longer endure the pain, terror and humiliation.

Fortunately, his housemates broke down the bathroom door and called an ambulance. But Morse was not Smyth’s only victim. There are more than 100 known survivors, and perhaps many others: public schoolboys who took part in a network of military-style Christian holiday camps in the 1970s and 80s.

 

A new book, Bleeding for Jesus, tells the story of Smyth, the moral crusader who fought legal battles for “Christian values” in Britain’s courts while allegedly mercilessly abusing young men at his Hampshire home, and the Iwerne Trust, which organised the “Bash camps” that were his hunting ground and which turned a blind eye to his activities.

 

...

 

The Iwerne project, which Graystone describes as a cult, recruited “young men who were the brightest and best from the most elite schools in the country to win them for the Christian faith, to create a church of purity within the wider Church of England”, he said.

 

It produced many of the most prominent conservative evangelical leaders within the C of E over the past 40 years. Many see themselves as “the guardians of the true gospel against the forces of liberalism”.

 

According to the book, their number include Nicky Gumbel, the driving force behind the highly influential Alpha course run by churches all over the country; David Sheppard, who played cricket for England before becoming bishop of Liverpool, and several others who became bishops. Justin Welby, the archbishop of Canterbury, was briefly embroiled in Iwerne’s holiday camps in the late 1970s.

 ...

Graystone said the Iwerne project, in line with most cults, relied on three pillars: conversion, conditioning and coercion. Recruits had to “declare total allegiance to Jesus”, follow certain codes and practices, and observe “sexual purity”. He said it was “highly exclusive – this was not a movement for the poor. It accrued huge amounts of power, influence and wealth.”

Peter Ball, Bishop and abuser

 

The Panorama documentary on Bishop Peter Ball will shatter some illusions about the Church of England for people still in the grip of these illusions.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tlY5naK1cAc

 

In 1960, Peter Ball and his brother  established a monastic community, the Community of the Glorious Ascension, through which Ball came into contact with many boys and young men.

In October 2015, Ball was sentenced to 32 months' imprisonment for misconduct in public office and indecent assault after admitting the abuse of 18 young men over a period of 15 years from 1977 to 1992. One of his victims, Neil Todd, took his own life.

 

During the trial, Bobbie Cheema, QC, said for the prosecution:

[Ball] was highly regarded as a godly man who had a special affinity with young people. The truth was that he used those 15 years in the position of bishop to identify, groom and exploit sensitive and vulnerable young men who came within his orbit. For him, religion was a cloak behind which he hid in order to satisfy his sexual interest in those who trusted him.

The partner of Neil Todd's partner, Marc Hawley, said:

two years and eight months – for 15 years of sexual exploitation, abuse and grooming of young men who came into his orbit while he was the bishop of Lewes. I am more than glad that Peter Ball now resides at Her Majesty’s pleasure even though the sentence is far too lenient for the gravity of his activities.

Many victims have claimed severe lasting harm and Civil Court action against the Diocese of Chichester was lodged in October 2015. A Church of England priest said that when he was a teenager Ball had tried to make him have sex considered an "act of commitment" as a condition of being ordained. There are allegations of serious corruption and cover-ups within the Church of England regarding Ball's abuse.

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, ordered an independent review of the way the Church of England dealt with Ball's case] but the Minister and Clergy Sexual Abuse Survivors group and Keith Porteous Wood were unsure if the investigation would be sufficiently far-reaching. Wood accused a former Archbishop of Canterbury, George Carey, of encouraging the cover-up and Carey has been quoted stating:

I was worried that if any other allegations of past indecency were made it [criminal action against Ball] would reignite. I wanted some reassurance that this would not be the case. … I was so troubled, that evening after dinner I went to my study. … I was supplied with a number of a man at the CPS I believed to be a director. I do not recall his name. … I rang him and asked what might happen if allegations from the past were made. … I was told quite categorically that the other allegations would not be taken further as far as we are concerned.

Wood commended Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, for initiating the inquiry.The Guardian's crime correspondent, Sandra Laville, also wrote that Carey knew of the cover-up. Ruth Gledhill, writing in Christian Today, said that Carey intervened personally over the matter. Carey insists he only contacted the CPS after Ball had been cautioned.Abuse survivor Graham Sawyer, who alleges decades of pressure from the Church of England to silence him, believes that the church should no longer police itself.

The review ordered by Welby produced its report, An Abuse of Faith, on 22 June 2017, which found that senior figures in the Church of England had colluded over twenty years with Ball—Welby said it made harrowing reading, adding "The church colluded and concealed rather than seeking to help those who were brave enough to come forward. This is inexcusable and shocking behaviour".

A former vicar, Vickery House, was convicted in October 2015 and was sentenced to serve 6½ years in prison for sex assaults against men and a boy. House worked in the same diocese as Ball. House and Ball collaborated running a "Give a Year For Christ" scheme and both men abused three of the same victims during the scheme. If Ball had not pleaded guilty both men would have been tried together. There was a long delay between the first complaints to the police over House and a proper police investigation.

Ball was released from prison on licence in February 2017, after having served half of his sentence.

On 16 December 2015, the BBC published a report on the Ball affair. Cliff James had told the BBC that he informed a cleric in 1992 about abuse he had suffered. James alleges three bishops later telephoned his contact urging her to discourage him and another stated victim from going to the police or to the media. Thirteen different bishops allegedly took no action after a person in the church raised concerns. Ball's housekeeper and gardener, Christine and Michael Moss, said that bishops ignored their concerns over Ball. Moss said, "What upsets me so much is the Church did nothing."

On23 February 2016, the BBC published information about documents they discovered suggesting Ball's defence team tried during the 1990s to negotiate with the police and avoid a public trial. Ball promised to resign as bishop, leave Britain and retire to a French convent. Ball, however, stayed active as a priest until 2010 and remained in the United Kingdom.

In early 2016, it was announced that Dame Moira Gibb would chair a review into how the allegations against Ball were handled and why there was so little credence given to his victims, also whether the Church of England complied with its statutory duties. The review had been criticised because, among other reasons, it would take place behind closed doors and lack what was considered necessary transparency, and because it did not "specifically include the questionable role played by the Church in bringing undue influence to bear on the administration of justice concerning Ball's abuse"]

I believe that the Church of England review should add bullying and silencing of victims and whistleblowers to the terms of reference and I shall be making this clear to Dame Moira before agreeing to take part. (Graham Sawyer, a vicar and abuse survivor speaking in Feb 2016)

Sawyer stated in April 2016 that he was refusing to co-operate with the review because alleged bullying by high-ranking current church office holders would not be investigated. Terry Sanderson of the National Secular Society said:

The institutional bullying and silencing almost succeeded in preventing Bishop Ball ever being brought to justice. The Church's obdurate refusal at the highest levels to specify them [bullying and silencing] in the Terms of Reference should ring alarm bells about the seriousness of its intentions to look at them with the requisite priority. Maintaining the refusal means the principal witness Graham Sawyer, and perhaps others, will not give evidence and this further undermines the validity of the Review. At least he will be able to give his evidence to the Independent (Goddard) Inquiry set up by the Government.

Gibb published her report in June 2017.[62]

The remit of the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse includes investigation of the Church of England, and specifically of the Ball case and other cases in the Diocese of Chichester.

An independent review in 2017 found that the church's hierarchy, notably The Baron Carey of Clifton, a former Archbishop of Canterbury, colluded in concealing abuse by Ball over a 20-year period. Archbishop Carey had seven letters from individuals and relatives after Ball was cautioned by police in 1992, but passed only one (of least concern) on to the police. Carey did not put Ball on the "Lambeth List" of clergy whose suitability for the ministry is questioned. Concealing abuse was given higher priority than helping victims. The review stated that "The church appears to have been most interested in protecting itself." It also said that "progress [towards dealing satisfactorily with claims of abuse in the Church of England] has been slow and continuing, faster improvement is still required". Archbishop Welby of Canterbury said that the church "colluded and concealed" instead of trying to help "those brave enough to come forward", and asked Lord Carey of Clifton to step down from his role assisting the Bishop of Oxford. Rowan Williams was also criticised.

Abuse survivor Graham Sawyer said the church treated him and others with contempt. He said, "The church continues to use highly aggressive legal firms to bully, frighten and discredit victims ... In my own case, I continue to endure cruel and sadistic treatment by the very highest levels of the church." Sawyer wants the police to investigate Carey's part in the Ball case.

It was reported in 2017, after his release from prison, that Ball and his twin brother were seeking to join the Roman Catholic Church, in order to "live and worship in anonymity and without constant fear".

Richard Scorer, a lawyer representing other abuse survivors, said that Lord Carey of Clifton, a former Archbishop of Canterbury, bears the greatest responsibility, and called on him to give a “transparent account of his actions”. He also said, "If a charlatan with an insatiable appetite for abuse wanted to secure a continuous supply of vulnerable young victims, there was no better way of achieving this than by founding a religious order not subject to any external supervision, and by making his victims' participation in the abuse a religious duty obligated by their oath of absolute obedience. Not for the first time, theology and religious ritual provided the ideal mask for abuse, with the evil of what Peter Ball did being compounded by his nauseating claim that the abuse was spiritually uplifting. Most of all, however, Peter Ball found in his fellow bishops in the Church of England the perfect accomplices, prepared to turn a blind eye to his abuse over many decades, to collude in the lie that the abuse of Neil Todd was an uncharacteristic aberration, to cast doubt on his guilt, to smear his victims, and to rehabilitate him."

Fiona Scolding, senior counsel, described a scheme by Ball that enabled him to groom young men for sexual abuse. The men were incited to pray naked, and practise massage and spanking.

 

Bishop Ralph Heskett, Bishop of Hallam

 

The Bishop isn't an abuser.

An article in  'The Star,' 11 October, 2021 with the heading 'A Catholic bishop in Sheffield has been accused of failing to report the sexual abuse of altar boys.' That Bishop is Ralph Heskett. An extract from the article,

'Bishop of Hallam Ralph Heskett is claimed to have known about a priest who preyed on altar boys in Liverpool but failed to report him to the police, with the culprit instead sent away to Scotland.'

'The trial heard MacCarte [the accused, who was found guilty] let altar boys smoke cannabis and drink alcohol so he could sexually abuse them.

'Prosecutors said he used his role in the church for his own sexual gratification and ruined children's lives.'

Recommended: a reading of the full article, available at

https://www.thestar.co.uk/news/crime/sheffield-bishop-ralph-heskett-failed-to-report-priest-who-sexually-abused-altar-boys-3413770

It gives the response of the Bishop.

So far, I've given information about sexual abuse in the Church of England, enough to indicate the seriousness of the issues, but I've given no information about sexual abuse in the Roman Catholic Church. This seems a good place to provide some, in the form of very brief extracts from the Wikipedia article 'Catholic Church sexual abuse cases. Consulting the page will give a much better understanding of the issues.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catholic_Church_sexual_abuse_cases

'There have been many cases of sexual abuse of children by Catholic priests, nuns and members of religious orders ... the cases have involved many allegations, investigations, trials, convictions, acknowledgement and apologies by Church authorities, and revelations about decades of instances of abuse and attempts by Church officials to cover them up. The abused include mostly boys but also girls, some as young as three years old, with the majority between the ages of 11 and 14.'

...

'In 2020, the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse   released a report which stated that the Catholic Church of England and Wales "swept under the carpet" allegations of past child sex abuse by numerous Catholic clergy in England and Wales. According to the report "there was no acknowledgement of any personal responsibility" by Vincent Nichols,   since 2014 a cardinal and the senior Catholic cleric in England and Wales.[The report said that Nichols cared more about the impact of abuse on the Church's reputation than on the victims, and lacked compassion towards them.'

This is Rainer Maria Woelki, a Cardinal and Archbishop of Cologne.

He has conservative views on doctrine and morality. In an article published in March, 2019, he wrote,

'The Church cannot be bullied into changing her doctrine if change contradicts the spirit of the gospel' ... All those inside and outside the Church who so vehemently push for changes (liberalizing celibacy, reconsidering homosexuality, ordaining women, accepting sex outside of marriage) have not answered one question: Why are Protestant Christians in Germany not flourishing? They have implemented all that is being demanded. Yet they are not in a better position—seen by their practice of faith, how few they recruit for pastoral ministry, and the number of people leaving their churches. Does that not indicate that the real problems lie elsewhere, and that the whole of Christianity has to confront a crisis of faith and understanding, rather than adapt to a “new reality of life” that is presented as irresistible?'

His view of morality has to be considered in relation to his practice.

From the report in

https://www.dw.com/en/cologne-diocese-abuse-scandal-investigators-identify-suspects/a-56911283

about sexual abuse in the diocese of Cologne, published in March 2021:

A German law firm published an independent report Thursday following accusations of efforts to cover up sexual violence in Germany's most powerful Roman Catholic diocese. 

The long-awaited report, commissioned by the diocese of Cologne, was presented by Björn Gercke, an attorney from a Munich law firm that conducted the investigation. He spoke of having examined "poisonous files" in reference to documents detailing evidence of abuse committed by priests and attempted cover-ups of those crimes. 

Gercke said his team had spent five months going through thousands of files going back to the 1940s and had conducted interviews with victims. 

He said that in many cases missing documents had held up the investigation, but he praised the diocese for their support and openness in the process. 

The report identified around 243 abusers of minors — priests or lay people working for the church — and at least 386 victims between 1946 and 2018, not all of them falling under the jurisdiction of the Cologne diocese. The victims in some 55% of cases were children under the age of 14 and around half of the cases dealt with sexual violence, the rest with verbal or other physical abuse. 

Almost two-thirds of abuses were carried out by members of the clergy, the rest by laypeople. The report also indicated a clear rise in reported abuse between 2004 and 2018.

Decades of crimes and cover-ups

The new report documents the actions of Cologne's Catholic leaders from 1976 to 2018. Cardinal Höffner is singled out as having committed serious breaches of duty, but his successor Cardinal Joachim Meisner, an ultra-conservative and reactionary archbishop, who held office from 1989 to 2014 is accused still more damningly. One-third of all cases were documented during his time in office. Meisner neglected his duty to investigate, report, and sanction abuse and abandoned the victims, according to the report. 

The investigators summed up the report as identifying "years of chaos, subjectively perceived lack of competence and misunderstandings." 

Cardinal Woelki himself was not found to have committed any breach of duty. This announcement came as a surprise to many.

Woelki had drawn ire for keeping an earlier report under wraps for months. Later journalists were offered a chance to read the report if they committed themselves to secrecy.  

None of the clergy found to have carried out abuse and none of the senior Catholic clerics who covered up abuse were guilty of failing to pray regularly. What they prayed about, the content of their prayers, is unknown.

This is a Youtube video which shows Cardinal Woelki in action:  recommended, for people who like to watch Roman Catholic theatre but far too long. It includes, of course, the miracle of transubstantiation, the conversion of ordinary bread and wine into the body and blood of Christ - not the symbolic body and blood of Christ but the actual body and blood of Christ - according to Roman Catholic theoretical theology.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hyCM0E5K80I

Mass continued to be celebrated at Cologne cathedral during the Nazi years. When Cologne Jews were rounded up for transport to the extermination camps, mass continued to be celebrated - although perhaps not with the same spectacle as in this video - prayers continued to be offered up by the faithful to God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit, to Marythe Mother of God and a range of saints.

The Roman Catholic Church has been repeatedly called 'a Powerhouse of Prayer.' The priests, nuns and members of religious orders said prayers on all kinds of subjects, repeatedly, and still do, if they are still Roman Catholics.  They actively contributed and still contribute  to this the 'Powerhouse of Prayer' but did they achieve anything. The Church officials who covered up the abuse actively prayed and still pray. What of their achievements - achievements brought about by prayer?

Many or most people who aren't Roman Catholics are probably unaware that Roman Catholics are permitted or encouraged to pray to the Saints. The Virgin Mary is a very popular recipient of prayers on all kinds of subjects - would she grant fine weather when the Church fete takes place, for example.

Prayers can be offered to Saint Augustine, who taught that unbaptized babies are destined to spend eternity in hell.

For foot complaints, the Saint to turn to is Saint Servatius, the patron saint of those who suffer with foot or leg ailments.

St Camillus is a versatile saint. He is known as a good Saint to contact for help with gambling.

Wikipedia gives a very comprehensive list of saints to pray to for different problems: it amounts to a powerful case for  scientific medicine and scientific knowledge to

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patron_saints_of_ailments,_illness,_and_dangers

Victims of rape, victims of general crime can pray to Saint Maria Goretti, who is also invoked against paedophiles. For some reason, the Bishop of Hallam didn't recommend that victims could try praying to this Saint.

Countless prayers have been offered by Roman Catholics to non-existent saints. From the page

https://abcnews.go.com/International/saint-saint-kind-demoted/story?id=23477573

'Pope Paul VI revised the canon of saints and determined that some of the names had only ever been alive as legends or not enough was known about them to determine their status ...

'Some famous demoted saints:

Saint Christopher

Among Catholicism’s most popular saints, Christopher was listed as a martyr.

Legend had it he carried a child who grew increasingly heavy across a river -- the child was supposed to be carrying the weight of God.

But there wasn’t enough historical evidence the man ever existed, so Pope Paul VI dropped him.

Saint Ursula

Saint Ursula suffered a similar fate when the Catholic Church decided she was only a myth. She is thought to have been the leader of a group of virgins who were murdered at Cologne.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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 Evangelism in nursing. Evangelism and safeguarding. The case of Sarah Kuteh.

 

Introduction to the List of Safeguarding Officers in Sheffield

 

List of Safeguarding Officers in Sheffield, with comments, including 'Evangelism, word games and mind games: comments on Kinder Kalsi, Church Army Lead Evangelist'

 

 

The Case of Sarah Kuteh

 

' ‘We have a duty to our patients that when they are at their most vulnerable they are not exposed to unsolicited beliefs and/ or views, religious or otherwise.'

 

https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/nhs-nurse-who-offered-bible-16181771

A nurse who offered a bible to a cancer patient and encouraged him to sing The Lord is My Shepherd was fairly dismissed, a court has ruled.

Sarah Kuteh was given the sack from her job at Darent Valley Hospital in Dartford, Kent, in 2016 for repeatedly talking to patients about her faith and handing out a bible.

Her actions were found to be in breach of Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) rules.

A ruling, published last week by the Court of Appeal, revealed how on June 3, 2016 a cancer patient at the hospital had complained about Ms Kuteh's conduct.

In what he said was a 'very bizarre' encounter, Ms Kuteh encouraged him to sing ... Psalm 2 - The Lord is My Shepherd - with her ...

[He] alleged the Claimant had told him that the only way he could get to the Lord was through Jesus.

"(She) told him she would give him her bible if he did not have one; gripped his hand tightly and said a prayer that was very intense and went 'on and on'; and asked him to sing Psalm 23 ...

The court documents also point to a number of other incidents, in which Ms Kuteh told a bowel cancer patient in April 2016 'that if he prayed to God he would have a better chance of survival'.

Another complaint, again in April 2016, came from a patient who said Ms Kuteh 'spent more time talking about religion than doing the assessment', and another, the same month, came from a patient who said they didn't want to see Ms Kiteh as they 'didn't like preaching'.

Miss Kuteh, a 50-year-old mum-of-three, was suspended from her job in June 2016 and sacked for gross misconduct in August the same year.

Her dismissal was upheld by an employment tribunal later the same year.

She appealed the tribunal's ruling in 2017, but failed in her bid to have her sacking overturned.

She continued her legal actions but in 2019, Judges at the Court of Appeal rejected the nurse's most recent appeal, saying she was not unfairly dismissed.

The trust said: ‘We have a duty to our patients that when they are at their most vulnerable they are not exposed to unsolicited beliefs and/ or views, religious or otherwise. We feel we have acted appropriately in this case.’

 

Introduction to the List of Safeguarding Officers in Sheffield, including a Safeguarding Policy document.

 

The victims of abuse in churches are vulnerable people. So too are innocent people accused of abuse in churches. Some churches seem to have no procedures in place for dealing with complaints of abuse, including some which are participating churches in the Sheffield grouping Arise! The list I provide of participating Churches in my  main FEFE page on Christian issues  (which omits some Churches) is a long one. It contains Churches which seem not to recognize issues to do with abuse or to provide people and procedures to deal with complaints of abuse. One example is 'Bushfire Ministries.'

 

The Sheffield Diocese, to give just one example, has made sure that its Churches have measures in place, written statements available in the public domain, people who can be consulted, including the Safeguarding Officers. But all these measures are not necessarily effective. They may well be next to useless, giving a false sense of security, a false conviction that the Church has done what it can to avoid the disastrous mistakes of the past. The measures don't guarantee that the people will be effective or that they have the personal qualities needed to give help to the vulnerable.

 

The obstacles are massive ones. The majority of Church people have a belief in the power of prayer, in many cases to the extent that they regard prayer as the most important thing, the most powerful thing. Who knows what they recommend to the victim, what advice they give to the victim. They may not ask the victim  ‘We have a duty to our patients that when they are at their most vulnerable they are not exposed to unsolicited beliefs and/ or views, religious or otherwise.(or alleged victim) o join them in prayer but many of them are likely to pray for the victim, perhaps as a complete or partial substitute for more effective action.

 

People who like to inflict their faith on other people are prevented from doing that in the nursing profession. People who like to inflect their faith on other people aren't discouraged in the churches. 

 

Relations within a Church may prevent honest and open action. A Church superior may be completely unwilling to take necessary action against a Church subordinate, a Church subordinate may be afraid to complain about a Church superior.

 

The Safeguarding Policy of St Augustine's Church, Sheffield

 

http://staugustinessheffield.org/wp1/safeguarding-policy/

 

may give an impression of brisk efficiency but is in fact radically flawed. It recommends, in fact, keeping the issues within the Church. Power in a Church may make this approach impossible or intensely difficult. A Church is overwhelmingly likely to avoid adverse publicity if it can help it. It's much easier to set up a system, including the appointment of Safeguarding Officers, than to ensure that these Safeguarding Officers have the personal qualities essential for effective protection of vulnerable people. As for the Diocesan Officials who have the duty of ensuring that safeguarding is as effective as it can possibly be, then I have personal experience of some of their failures. I sent an email to the Past Cases Review' about a possible case of abuse at a Sheffield Church months ago and received a prompt reply, informing me that a member of 'the team' would be in touch within 3 working days, and have heard nothing further. The Safeguarding Officer of the Church where the alleged abuse took place hasn't made up the deficiency. I've heard nothing further from the Officer.

 

It's essential that Safeguarding Policy documents of Churches  should mention - should stress - the importance of the police in the investigation of cases of alleged abuse.

 

From the Safeguarding page of St Augustine's Church. (This advice makes no mention of the role of the police. I've reason to believe that the deficiency is general):

 

Providing an Independent Person

Children and young people should have the opportunity to raise any concerns about any health and safety or protection matters. A notice will be placed on the noticeboard and/or entrance to church and to all church premises with the name of the parish Safeguarding Officer, Childline telephone number and of any other independent person the parish appoints to afford this opportunity.

Allegations

If an allegation is received concerning the behaviour of an adult, they will inform the Safeguarding Officer who will  the Diocesan Allegations Policy will be followed.

Concerns About or Reported by a Child

This parish will follow the Diocesan Guidelines and report the concern to the Diocesan Safeguarding Adviser, or to the appropriate Archdeacon.

In response to a flood of allegations of abuse within the Church and the mass of evidence that abuse has occurred on a very significant scale, ruining the lives of the victims in many cases, ruining the reputations of the abusers, ruining the reputations of the many members of clergy who did nothing to investigate allegations or to take them seriously, the Church of England belatedly took action. Has the action been effective or ineffectual? Amongst the changes - a network of 'safeguarding officers.' What kind of people are these safeguarding officers? What kind of people are the clergy - vicars, canons, archdeacons, bishops, archbishops and the rest - who are now expected to give a high priority to matters to do with safeguarding? Do the beliefs of these people have any relevance to matters to do with safeguarding. Surely they do.

Parish Councillors are amongst the people who are expected to 'declare an interest' at public meetings. Some interests are 'prejudicial.' A prejudicial interest is     one which a member of the public who knows the relevant facts would reasonably think is so significant that it is likely to affect [a person's] judgement of the public interest. Some interests are 'pecuniary,' to do with financial matters, others are 'non-pecuniary.'

I think that the beliefs of a safeguarding officer of a church or a church leader are relevant to the safeguarding work of the church. I've reason for thinking that a  declaration of belief would be very unlikely for such people.

What if  a safeguarding officer or a Christian in a different role were to be asked this direct question, for example: do you or don't you believe that this extract is the 'Word of God?' This is surely a clear-cut case of child abuse of a particularly vicous - horrific - kind.

Psalm 137, extract

 

Babylon, you will be destroyed.
Happy are those who pay you back
for what you have done to us -
who take your babies
and smash them against a rock.


List of  members of 'Arise!' and other Churches in Sheffield with information about some Safeguarding Officers at the Churches.

'Arise!' is the Sheffield Group of Churches. A few Churches belonging to 'Arise!' are omitted from the list. A few Churches not belonging to 'Arise!' are included. These are the same Churches listed in my general page on FEFE, with a few additions.

I'll add information about  some of the Safeguarding Officers (and Advisers) at Churches listed here directly after the name of the Church or other Church organization, indented, sometimes with comments but more often simply the name of the Safeguarding Officer, or Officers - except in cases where a Safeguarding Officer isn't given in the Website of the Church or Church organization. Anything like comprehensive coverage is obviously impossible.

 

The beliefs of these people have relevance to their work - beliefs to do with sin, sinners, whether or not the victim, or alleged victim, is a sinner in need of redemption, beliefs to do with  prayer - can prayer help the victim, or alleged victim - beliefs to do with Bible. In the New Testament, people are possessed by demons, allegedly, in various places. Does the Safeguarding Officer or Adviser believe that cases of demonic possession still occur. Is it possible for a victim/alleged victim of abuser or an abuser/alleged abuser to be possessed by demons? Even to mention these possible beliefs is to be reminded of the great gulf which separates ecclesiastical safeguarding from secular safeguarding.

 

A very important consideration: does the Safeguarding Officer/Adviser have a relation with the alleged abuser or the alleged victim which may make it very difficult for the person to judge the merits or otherwise of their case in an unbiased way - or may make it very difficult for the person to take effective action?

 

Does the Safeguarding Officer/Adviser realize that this field is an intensely difficult one and that the consequences of making a bad mistake - culpable or otherwise - may well be very serious? A bad mistake could have disastrous consequences for the reputation of the Safeguarding Officer/Adviser as well as the Church/Church Organization. Or, a much worse possibility, very unlikely but perfectly possibly, result in the suicide of a victim or abuser, an 'abuser who may be innocent, a victim of an untrue abuse allegation.

 

The List:

 

 

All Saints Church, Totley

     Liz Hayden
All Saints, Aston
    Louise Cooper
All Saints, Ecclesall
    Beth Keith, Kate Gerrish

Antioch Community Church
    No Safeguarding Officer
Attercliffe and Darnall Centre of Mission
    No mention of a Safeguarding Officer, it seems

Bamford Methodist
Bents Green Church
Bents Green Methodist
    Glenn Evans  Nancy Rust

Bethel Sheffield
Bride of Christ
Calvary Deliverance Ministries
    No Safeguarding Officer

Cemetery Road Baptist Church
Christ Abiding Ministries
Christ Church Central
Christ Church Darnall
Christ Church Dore
    Dr Yvonne Twelvetree

Christ Church Fulwood
Christ Church Gleadless
Christ church Heeley
Christ Church Hillsborough & Wadsley Bridge
    Steph Osman

Christ Church Pitsmoor
    Sue Mate

Church of Christ Darnall
Church on the Corner (Elim Pentecostal Church)City of Refuge Foursquare Church
Cornerstone Benefice (Stocksbridge, Deepcar & Bolsterstone)
Crown of Life Community Church
Diocese of Sheffield
    Safeguarding advice: Siân Checkley
    Safeguarding advice: Elina Penttila
    Cathedral Safeguarding Advisor:
    Cherryl Henry-Leach
    Safeguarding Training Officer: Chris Herbert

Dore & Totley Christian Fellowship
Dore & Totley URC
Dore and Totley IRC
Dore and Totley United Reformed Church
Ecclesall All Saints
Ecclesall Church of England
Elim Central Church
Emmanuel Church Sheffield
Emmanuel Waterthorpe
Galeed House Darnall
Gatehouse
Gleadless Valley Methodist Church
God’s Righteousness Bible Church
Grace Church, Handsworth
Greenhill Methodist Church
Hampden View Wesleyan Reform
Harvest Field International
Hatfield House Lane Methodist Church
Heeley Parish Church
Hillsborough Baptist Church
Holy Cross Gleadless Valley
Hope Centre
Hope City Church

Hope Family Arbourthorne
International Christian Worship Centre
Jubilee Centre
Kings Centre, Nether Edge
Lansdowne Chapel
Liberty Church
Living Waters Christian Fellowship Darnall
Meadowhead Christian Fellowship
Meersbrook Park United Reformed Church
Millhouses Methodist
Mosborough Elim Church
Mount Tabor Methodist Church
NCS Sheffield – St Thomas Philadelphia
Nether Green Methodist
New Christian Covenant
New Hope Community Church
Oughtibridge Parish Church
Our Lady of Beauchief & St. Thomas of Canterbury
Our Lady of Lourdes
Pitsmoor Methodist Church
RCCG (Amazing Grace Tab) Hillsborough
Richmond Church
Rock Christian Centre, Burngreave
Sacred Heart Roman Catholic Church
Share Pioneer Ministry (Parson Cross)

Sheffield Central Elim Pentecostal Church
Sheffield Christian Life Centre
Sheffield Nazarene
Sheffield Vineyard
Shiloh United Church
Shiregreen IRC
South Anston Methodist
South Sheffield Evangelical Church
    No Safeguarding Officer

Southern Light Community Church
Spa View Community Church
St Alban’s House Community
St Andrew’s URC
St Catherine of Siena
St Chad’s Woodseats
St Francis Bramley
St Francis of Assisi Catholic Church
St Gabriel’s, Greystones
St James Anston
St James Woodhouse / Central Mission Partnership / St John’s Park
St John’s Chapeltown
St John’s Owlerton
St John’s Park
St Leonard & St Mary’s Armthorpe
St Luke’s Lodge Moor Sheffield
St Margaret’s and St Thomas
St Mark Mosborough
St Mark’s, Grenoside
St Mary Magdalene Whiston
St Mary the Virgin, Beighton
St Marys Handsworth
St Matthew Carver Street
    Pat West  Carol Taylor

St Patrick’s, Sheffield Lane Top
St Paul’s Norton Lees
St Paul’s Parson Cross
St Paul’s, Wordsworth Avenue
St Peter’s Church Ellesmere
St Peter’s Greenhill
St Philip’s
St Polycarp’s
    No Safeguarding Officer

St Timothy's Church, Crookes
    Siobhan Melville
St Vincent’s Catholic Church
St William of York Sheffield

STC (St Thomas Church) Sheffield
    Helen Ward
Tapton Hill Congregational Church
The Crowded House
The Michael Church Lowedges United Reformed Church
The New Hope Community Church
The Rock Christian Centre
The Salvation Army
The Vine
The Well, Sheffield
    Joel McKay-Smith
Totley Rise Methodist
Upperthorpe christian community
Victory Assembly
Wadsley Parish Church
    Emily Kittle

Welcome Baptist Church
Wesley Hall Methodist Church
Whirlow Spirituality Centre

 

Not members of 'Arise!'

Church Army

     Faye Popham (Safeguarding Co-ordinator)
Christ Church, Endcliffe
    Sophie Bryant, James Bird
St Augustine's Church, Endcliffe
    Viv Smith
St Mark's Church, Broomhill
    Duncan Lennox
St John's Church, Ranmoor

     Claire Webber

 

Comments on some of the Churches, Church organizations and Safeguarding Officers in the list above.

 

Sheffield 'Safeguarding Team'

 

I emailed the Past Cases Review (part of the 'Safeguarding Team') on 24 November 2021 with information about possible  abuse at a Church in Sheffield, one of the Churches listed above, and about the fact that, after a prompt acknowledgment of the email, which informed me that a team member would reply within three working days, I've not received any further communication. I've still heard nothing. According to my informant, his/her spouse (I don't state here whether this was husband or wife - the fewer concrete details in the public domain the better, for the time being, and perhaps permanently) the alleged abuser was allegedly moved by the Church to a different part of the country.

 

On 13 January 2022 I emailed the Safeguarding Team of the Sheffield Diocese to remind them of my earlier submission about a case of possible abuse. I've heard nothing. Does the Safeguarding Team only respond to people with Christian belief who are members of the Church of England?

 

Faye Popham, Safeguarding Co-ordinator, Church Army

A tweet of Faye Popham, the Church Army Safeguarding Co-ordinator (24 December, 2021):

 

'Oh how this messy painful world needs a saviour. One day is coming of no more paid [sic - as in the original], tears, covid, dissapointment [sic - as in the original] etc ... all made possible by Jesus coming to be with us.'

 

Can Faye Popham comment on Jesus' failure to defend the abused and the implications of Psalm 137? These are explained in the material at the top of the column to the right.

 

I sent an email to Faye Popham to bring her attention to material on this page and other pages where I discuss Christian belief and practice. The email was blocked. I already knew that emails to members of the department headed by Tim Ling were blocked but this confirms that the blocking is general. This is a disturbing attempt to interfere with freedom of communication, one which is completely unwarranted.

 

From the Tim Ling Linkedin profile:

 

Director of Learning and Development at Church Army. Responsible for the oversight of Research and Training and a member of Church Army's Senior Leadership.

 

He blocked my emails a long time ago - on 8 September, 2021 -  after I'd drawn the attention of a few people in the church to problems concerning a garden church which was proposed for allotments near to my two allotments.

 

 My tone was courteous and matter-of-fact. I pointed out, for example, problems to do with security and safety, including a murder which took place in a nearby allotment, and difficulties to do with allotment law. I regard these issues as matters of safeguarding in the wider sense, protecting people from harm. It was proposed that garden church services (due to last two hours, I believe) should take place whatever the weather, including rain or snow. Adults might be willing to put up with those conditions but I saw it as unreasonable - potentially hazardous - to inflict this upon children attending garden church services.

 

Much later, the organizer of this particular garden church announced that the launch of the garden church would have to be delayed, to give time to make adequate security arrangements. This decision must have been based on my representations to do with security.

 

Lu Skerratt-Love, employed by the Church Army in Tim Ling's department, was and perhaps still is influential in the garden church movement in Sheffield. Word obviously reached her about my submission concerning the problems and she was obviously infuriated, resulting abruptly in the blocking of my emails, not just my emails to her but to all the email addresses of the Church Army in Sheffield, it seems, and perhaps beyond.

 

So the email I sent to Lu Skerratt-Love to bring these matters to her attention  never reached her. She hasn't received a single email from me. Despite that, she actually approached South Yorkshire Police to claim that emails from me were unwelcome and must stop. This was a misuse of police resources and amounted to wasting police time. I have strong objections to Lu Skerratt-Love's support for and involvement in Extinction Rebellion protests. I took the view that these have consumed far too much police time and police resources. But this is a separate matter.

 

Attercliffe and Darnall Centre of Mission

 

From the Linkedin profile of Kinder Kalsi, Church Army Lead Evangelist. (His wife Gina Kalsi is a Church Army Pioneer Evangelist.)

 

Kinder Kalsi

Lead evangelist for attercliffe and Darnal Centre of Mission at Church Army UK & Ireland [Spelling: 'Darnal' here should be 'Darnall.']


And this:

About

I have a heart for community cohesion through Christian Values. I want people to go through life through the cycle of Grace....1. know they are loved by God . 2. Their identity 3. what sustains them and then 4.and then achievement.
i love networking ......

And this:

 

Community Evangelist and Training Enabler

St Bart's and St Stephen's Church

 -  4 years

Sheffield, United Kingdom

i work where people are.....in 2 local schools, pubs, local groups and run a youth Club.

I also enable the training of future church army officers. [Emphasis supplied]

 

On the Linkedin page, he gives a comprehensive and detailed Curriculum Vitae, including this

 

Lollypop man

Ealing council

 -  1 year 11 months

and this

Store Manager

B&Q

 -  13 years 9 months

all over west london from greenford, hayes, Chiswick, staples corner, Slough.

from Saturday Checkout operator( greenford) to Store Manager( slough)


I have to ask, can he confirm that he was a Store Maneger for B&Q for 13 years and 9 months? Can he provide the evidence? To go from Checkout Operator to Store Manager isn't impossible but he presumably has the evidence to support the claim.

 

The Church Army page Prayer Diary

 

https://www.wilsoncarlilecentre.org.uk/Publisher/File.aspx?ID=257211

 

has this request to pray for Tim Ling (prayers for 19 July - 25 July 2020). Pray for

'Tim Ling, Director of Learning and Development, as he and his team expand how Church Army resource the church and train evangelists.'

 

and on another page, a request to pray for Kinder Kalsi, Lead Evangelist.

 

From the Twitter page of the Attercliffe and Darnall Centre of Mission, an initiative of  Kinder Kalsi and Gina Kalsi, Church Army Evangelists or former Evangelists.

'Calling all creatives which is all of us really.'

Could the Attercliffe and Darnall C of M do their best to create a Safeguarding Policy, then? I can find no mention of one anywhere. Or perhaps they take the view that it's impossible for Christians ever to carry out abuse? Not that a Safeguarding Policy necessarily prevents abuse.

The page


From the Facebook page of The Attercliffe and Darnall Centre of Mission (16 January 2022):

 

'Played games and chatted life .
Thank you God for a dishwasher for the bulk of it.'

 

Evangelism isn't all hard work, it seems. Appliances which reduce the dishwashing are Labour Saving Devices but I'd class Church dogmas as Labour Saving Devices of another kind - they save so much thinking.

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 



 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



 

 

 

 

 

 

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In the Roman Empire, abuse of slaves - slave children, slave adults, sexual abuse and other kinds of abuse - and torture of slaves was freely permitted. Jesus will have known about this abuse and torture and will have witnessed it. 'St' Paul will have known about and witnessed many more instances in his travels in the Roman Empire. What did Jesus and St Paul have to say about all this? Nothing.

 

What does Psalm 137 have to say about abuse?

 

Babylon, you will be destroyed.
Happy are those who pay you back
for what you have done to us -
who take your babies
and smash them against a rock.

 

Translation: the 'Good News [!] Bible

 

Antioch Community Church, like a large number of other Churches in Sheffield, including the Sheffield Diocese, is a member of 'Arise!' There's a 'List of  Members of 'Arise!' and other Churches in the column to the left. Antioch Community Church has a 'Statement of Belief'

 

https://www.antiochsheffield.org.uk/beliefs

 

which includes this 'Unbelievers ... will be eternally separated from God and in torment.'

More from 'The 'Statement of Belief:

 

THE BIBLE

We believe the Bible is the inspired, authoritative, living, eternally-reliable Word of God. We believe it is without error in its original manuscript, absolutely infallible and our source of supreme revelation from God, superior to conscience and reason, though not contrary to reason. It is therefore our infallible rule of faith and practice and necessary to our daily lives. [II Timothy 3:16-17; I Peter 1:23-25; Hebrews 4:12]

 

(How does Antioch Community Church interpret this passage from Psalm 137?)


and this:

 

We believe that in the final judgment, which will accompany the return of Christ, every person will give an account to God of every aspect of this earthly life. The Judgment Seat of Christ (Bema Seat) is the judgment of believers in reference to rewards or lack thereof. The Great White Throne Judgment [?] is the judgment of unbelievers who will be eternally separated from God and in torment. [I Corinthians 3:10-15; II Corinthians 5:10; Revelation 20:11-15]

 

Antioch isn't the exception amongst the Churches and Church organizations in Sheffield and beyond. These beliefs are common, very common, general. It matters if a Safeguarding Officer has the same or similar beliefs. It matters very much if a Safeguarding Officer believes that an abused person who is an unbeliever will be eternally separated from God and in torment but an abuser who is a believer will be in union with God.


For the sake of honesty, these Churches and Church organizations should be ready to make clear their view of things. If they believe that the people who live nearby and are unbelievers are 'unsaved' then they should be willing to proclaim their beliefs - or to admit their beliefs. If they believe that almost all the Jews exterminated by the Nazis will be eternally separated from God and in torment, then they should be willing to proclaim their beliefs, or admit their beliefs. There are many, many more examples which would show the gross inhumanity of these Christian convictions. I give some of them on this page and the other pages concerned with Christian belief.

Should people donate to Churches and Church organizations which adhere to the doctrine of the eternal damnation of shopkeepers, hospital workers, Jews who died in the extermination camps, loving parents - and their children - composers, the people who carry out hard, backbreaking work - the whole of humanity, in fact - if these people haven't accepted Christ as Lord and Saviour? Shouldn't people donate to better causes? Donors should be aware that the damnation of non-believers is orthodox Christian teaching, doctrines supported by most Christian churches. Should people give their time to these churches?

The Church is supposedly 'a hospital for sinners, not a museum for saints.' Is this so? Vast numbers of churches are named after 'saints,' such as 'St' Paul and 'St' Augustine (who taught that unbaptized babies go to hell).

If the Church is a 'hospital for sinners,' in cases of abuse it resembles the kind of hospital common centuries ago, which did nothing or next to nothing to check disease, where conditions encouraged the spread of disease, rather than a modern hospital where treatment is based on scientific evidence and vastly more effective.

 

Streets of Light, safety at Christmas, safer neighbourhoods, a safer world, safeguarding and the churches, safeguarding and the police

 

 

Above, the possible consequences of a house fire caused by a candle or faulty electrical wiring near a window

 

 

And the risks to firefighters

 

 

 

Above, STC (St Thomas Church): the modern extension and and main entrance.

 

The protection of children and vulnerable adults against abuse is obviously very important. Despite advances, the evidence I have suggests that the churches are still failing in their duty, are still ineffectual. Although churches are less likely to ignore abuse, they still ignore other aspects of safeguarding, to a greater or lesser extent.

 

 I discuss hazards of different kinds in this section, some very briefly, others in more detail. I argue that the churches can do far more to 'defend, protect - against danger, damage, injury etc.' It's easy for Churches to claim that they are concerned with 'the whole person,' but the reality is often very different. The churches tend to neglect a whole range of practical measures which would give greater protection against various hazards. The churches, like other organizations, have very limited power, and no power at all to transform neighbourhoods (even if they have some power to make some neighbourhoods better places to live), no power at all to remove the risk of terrorist action and no power at all to transform the international order so that wars are less likely, no power at all to guarantee peace. But vast numbers of churches and individual Christian believers do have utopian fantasies in which these things are possible - certain - if only people turn to Jesus. I think that these delusions are harmful and in this section give some of the reasons. This page, my page on Christian religion,and other pages of the site give further  evidence.

In October 2021, the 'Streets of Light' initiative took place in Sheffield and some other parts of the country. STC (St Thomas Church) was the principal organizer. The initiative began some years before, after the idea came to Helen Ward of STC, with, she claims, 'a gentle nudge from God.'

 

Helen Ward - and the God she believes in - has completely neglected some practical problems, it seems. Here, I point out the problems. These problems are presented at Christmas too, to a large extent. Now that the 'Streets of Light' initiative is at an end, attention can be focused on the problems of the 'Christian Christmas.' 

 

STC and other participating Churches don't see the windows lit up with their various messages as simply a matter of giving passers-by a pleasant view for a few moments. They view them as important - vital, even - in the battle of light against darkness. The people of God walk in the light, the people without belief walk in darkness. They regard Jesus as the Light of the World. The publicity materials for the initiative - but they would regard them as far more than publicity materials, as a vital part of Christian evangelism - neglect completely issues to do with safety. To these people, if someone falls off a chair whilst sticking some tissue paper on a window or if a candle in a pumpkin (the pumpkin can't be made into a face, since this would have associations of Halloween), then any injury - or death - the most important aspect is the victim's faith in Christ as personal Lord and Saviour, or lack of faith. If they regarded the physical dangers as important, they would have given some safety warnings. These could have been inserted with hardly any effort into their promotional Website and video.

 

Vandalism, theft, stabbings, shootings, violence in general in neighbourhoods, attacks on the fire service and the other emergency services, attacks on the police - these too are regarded as less important than belief in Christ as personal Lord and Saviour. In fact, they view belief in Christ as personal Lord and Saviour as the only real, the only effective answer to problems such as these. This is surely deluded.

 

Christian evangelism is dangerous or impossible if civil society descends into dangerous chaos, if Christian pastors are kidnapped and held to ransom, if there are mass killings of Christians, or if a state suppresses Christianity.

 

Again and again, of course, countries have been invaded -  but of course, recognition of these realities, knowledge of these realities, isn't common in communities of Christians. In the absence of invasion, groups sometimes come to power and torture, execute, massacre whole groups - sometimes Jews, sometimes free-thinkers, and sometimes Christians.

 

What protects a country against invasion? The reality is that the armed forces of a country can protect a country, but mass conversion to Christian belief is no protection at all and it's a delusion to think it will happen.

The 'Streets of Light' initiative. Address of the Youtube video showing unsafe working|

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UrwLEBnKk4o&t=4s


Address of the 'Streets of Light' website - which pays absolutely no attention to safety:

https://www.streetsoflight.co.uk


The page

https://www.streetsoflight.co.uk/inspiration

 

includes this:

 

'If you don't want people to see into your house, then you can use greaseproof paper or tissue paper to cover your windows or as a backing for your design.' From a section of the site with the heading


The key things to remember ...

 

Safety isn't one of these 'key things. No mention of the fact that working so close to glass, at a height - when the top part of the paper is added - is dangerous if the person is standing on a chair or a rickety step ladder - dangerous if a much better step ladder is used, if the ladder isn't checked and used properly. A fall against a window would very likely be catastrophic, a fall through the window would definitely be catastrophic. No mention of the fact that a child shouldn't be expected, shouldn't be allowed, to carry out the work.

Copy of an email I sent to the STC Administration address. Ruth Aidley, mentioned below, is the Administrator at STC.

Ruth  Aidley's comment that the dangers of putting up (or taking down) the decorations for making a 'Streets of Light' Display are no more than the dangers of putting up (or taking down) Christmas decorations - in our conversation at STC (St Thomas Church) yesterday - was unintentionally perceptive. The risks can be equated, broadly speaking, but she's obviously unaware of the evidence that Christmas is a particularly dangerous time of year for household accidents. People are 58% more likely to experience a house fire in the Christmas period than at other times of year, for these reasons: use of candles, overloaded sockets, heating of lights, unsafe wiring to supplementary lighting.


The Streets of Light Website has nothing whatsoever on safety. It would have been so easy to have included a section on this topic, but none was included. Pumpkins are 'allowed,' with the qualifications mentioned (no references to Halloween, for example) but an ordinary member of the public who signed up to the initiative would assume that candles too are allowed. If a candle is used, there's the danger of fire and the danger  is intensified by the proximity of tissue paper or other paper, the method recommended by the 'Streets of Light' Website to prevent a view into the room.


ROSPA (the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents) gives information about the very large numbers of people who have fallen while using unstable chairs to put up their decorations (or take down their decorations.) Most falls from a height, in industry as in the home, are falls from a relatively low height. Even falls from a relatively low height can have catastrophic consequences for the victim.


I've made copies in whole or in part of  the STC 'Streets of Light Website' and the STC Youtube video so that if St Thomas Church chooses to delete the material, I still have the evidence. More of this evidence (it will have to be used with great care and sensitivity, by blocking out sections of the images, since children are portrayed), varying is degrees of seriousness:


A child is shown in the first few sections of the Youtube video using blunt scissors. These supposedly 'child-proof' scissors can still cause injury (in medicine blunt trauma is distinguished from penetrating trauma.' but the scissors are used in the child's lap - very unsafe.
Shortly after, another child is using scissors over a table, a much safer position, but the scissors have sharp points.


Later, a child and woman are standing near a window with outstretched arms in a very unsafe position. What they are standing on isn't shown, but it's not likely that it was a stable, secure base. Nowhere are strong step ladders of adequate height shown. Members of the public who signed up may well be using flimsy, very unsafe step-ladders or the chairs which are shown as providing support in the video. A boy wearing socks was evidently standing on the smooth surface of a chair (both low-friction, of course) before he jumped off.


At this time, it's essential that the overburdened emergency services and other public services shouldn't have their time taken up with the accidents which are the result of avoidable risks. STC seems completely unaware of its practical responsibilities in certain respects. There are legal obligations to be considered,  including the duty of care, particularly the duty of care to children, the duty to do everything possible to avoid claims against it for negligence. It's unlikely that a catastrophic accident will occur during taking down of the window decorations or earlier, as a result of a house fire caused by a candle, but if legal proceedings did take place and the Anglican Church was found not to have been negligent in the legal sense, the victory would surely be a hollow one - an injured victim would likely be left embittered, the family of a fatality would likely be left embittered. One single accident could do great harm to the reputation of the Anglican Church.


After mentioning some issues to do with safety, I just had time to mention to Ruth Aidley a different matter, the image on the STC Youtube video concerned with 'Streets of Light' which showhe side of a house with lights on in multiple rooms. I pointed out that the electricity used for lighting these rooms for 5 hours each evening for the duration of the 'Street of Light' initiative would have a negligible, almost non-existent impact on climate change, but this is the case with all the electricity used by any house. What counts is the cumulative effect of millions - billions - of houses and, also, the signal which this house with its wasteful lighting sends out, that this is a church which isn't willing to do nearly enough to combat climate change. The Streets of Light initiative amongst other defects encourages waste of resources.


After mentioning this, after just a few minutes in the building, Ruth Aidley ordered me to leave at once. I didn't leave at once, not quite, and she repeated the order. I left after a very short delay. This is no way to promote the reputation of the Anglican Church, or the STC section of the Church. It blocks means of communication and is a sign that, for all the talk of love and the writing about love, STC's pursuit of positivity at all costs, even when the situation can't be given positive 'spin,' STC is capable of abysmal failure when dealing with people. I'm a non-Christian, and this experience has had an effect. I had made it clear to Ruth Aidley that I had called at STC simply with this in mind: I had great concerns about the implications for safe working of the 'Streets of Light' initiative, the practical work needed to put up a window display, I didn't expect anyone to listen to the evidence I had available at the time - I recognized that there were many demands on people's time - but I was happy to return on any day and at any time to speak about the matters, which I regarded - and still regard, of course - as very important. 


Best Wishes,


Paul Hurt


The organizers write,

We would love people to get involved with the Streets of Light Trail in order to be part of making that change and transformation in our communities - turning streets of darkness and fear into streets of light, love and hope. [They are hiding their main motive - making conversions. If the Streets of Light initiative produced large numbers of people with an ardent interest in light, love and hope, the organizers would be very disappointed. Nobody gets into heaven by simply putting a high valuation on light, love and hope, but only by accepting Christ as their personal Lord and Saviour - according to them.]

 

The second aspect to the vision is for Streets of Light to become a national event or initiative with streets, roads, towns and cities across the UK being lit up over the week of Halloween.  

As this happens, rather than individual homes being a tiny, isolated pinprick of light on a map; we would instead begin to see hundreds of these houses of light connected to each other, forming links and chains across neighbourhoods, cities and the country.

 

This year, it's obvious that even in areas of Sheffield where the uptake, the number of households signing up, was higher, such as the area near STC, the houses lit up were few and far between. In the areas I've visited, it would seem that there are instances  where the householder signed up to the initiative and the houses are shown on one or other 'Streets of Light' map, but there are no displays. I haven't undertaken anything like a systematic and thorough survey, of course, but such a result could be expected - people like the idea, sign up but are reluctant to do the work of decorating a window, or more than one window - a wise decision, I'm sure.

 

Seen from a distance, the houses with window displays  would appear as isolated pinpricks of light. These houses have wasted energy unnecessarily, on a futile exercise that has absolutely no chance of 'transforming' neighbourhoods. To suppose otherwise is to engage in naive Christian utopianism. If the initiative in future years became very, very successful - hypothetically - and the streets of Sheffield became vast swathes of light, and villages, towns and cities throughout the country became vast swathes of light, then the light would delight the organizers but amount to gross misuse of resources.


Safe use of Christmas lights demands some attention to detail. Safe use of lighting for a 'Streets of Light' window display demands some attention to detail too, but the 'Streets of Light' Website ignores electrical safety completely, since it ignores general safety completely. This is a very detailed guide to electrical safety

https://blog.christmas-light-source.com/can-led-fairy-lights-catch-fire/

 

Any electrical device or appliance can start a fire if it is damaged or used in poor operating conditions

...

Safety things to remember when installing Christmas lights:

  1. Make sure the wiring of all the lights is in great condition.
  2. Use a timer or turn off the lights when you aren’t in the same room or home with them.
  3. Don’t stretch lights across metal edges or put stress or tension on the wiring.
  4. Don’t decorate a Christmas tree with flammable decor
  5. Be sure to choose a fresh tree if you go the natural, real-tree, route, cut off the end of the trunk, and make sure it stays watered. See this artcle about Christmas tree safety for more information.
  6. Don’t use staples when installing lights since they could be accidentally pierced.
  7. Don’t install too many light strings in a project and exceed the manufacturer’s specification for maximum number of light strings to be run in series.
  8. Don’t exceed more than 85% of your household breaker’s maximum capability (ask an electrician to help calculate this figure for your breakers)
  9. Never daisy chain extension cords or exceed a cord’s maximum current rating
  10. Have a Master Electrican examine your Christmas light display to make sure you are staying inside the lines of common sense electrical practices.

'Don't decorate a Christmas tree with flammable decor.' But the 'Streets of Light' Website recommends using flammable paper in quantity at a window to block views of the room from outside, and has nothing to say about the light sources near to the flammable material, if any are used - and it's likely that in many cases, supplementary light sources will be used near the diplay. There's no mention of candles or electrical lights which work at a higher temperature than LED lights, or the need to check the wiring of LED and other lights or to observe any of the precautions in this detailed list.

 

A Youtube video produced by Which?

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=95g7z73vG-k

 

'Fire or electrocution were the risks faced with half of the Christmas lights we tested from online marketplaces. Christmas tree fires can take hold very quickly so having any ignition source near them can be a real risk, that's why we tested 13 sets of lights from eBay, Wish and AliExpress for safety. For our test, we bought lights from both the high street and online marketplaces and what we found was shocking. We’re calling for online marketplaces to have greater legal responsibility for the products that are sold on their sites.'

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xr6b9b8FYKk

 

The title of the Youtube video: 'Christmas tree fire turns devastating and deadly within seconds.'

 

The step-ladder I'd use if I were putting in place a display at this small window for 'The Streets of Light' initiative - not that I'd ever have done that. The step ladder is strong and heavy. There's this warning clearly visible on the step ladder:

 

WARNING  For your safety, follow the instructions on the left hand side of this product.

 

Even when using a step ladder of this quality and following the safety rules for using step ladders, working on the step ladder still needs great care. It should be unthinkable to expect a child to use the step ladder or to expect a child to help with putting up decorations on a window or putting tissue paper on a window whilst standing on a chair or something just as unsafe.

 

 

 

 

      

 

 

      

  Abuse, safeguarding, scripture and faith:
  The Church of England and its failures
  

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