Church of England releases worship materials for abuse survivors and the church
Many of the resources are already in general use and are supplemented by new material, including prayers suggested by survivors. The materials, to support a variety of pastoral circumstances, range from a safeguarding prayer that could be used to conclude a day of safeguarding training, to a litany of penitence for past failures. They have been put together and published by the Church of England’s Liturgical Commission and commended by the House of Bishops. They will be updated by the Commission as new materials evolve.
A representative of a survivor charity said: “I have read through the Liturgical Resources document several times and have not found anything that gives me cause for concern, or made me feel uncomfortable in any way. It is calm, reflective and offers hope to all who will read it and share in its purpose, which I believe is to provide spiritual comfort, while offering practical guidance in dealing with the complex reality of the impact and harm caused by the abuse of power used against vulnerable people, be they children or adults.”
The Bishop of Exeter, Robert Atwell, Chair of the Liturgical Commission, writes in the introduction: “The Church needs to be at the vanguard of fostering a change of culture across society. Safeguarding is at the forefront of public consciousness and the Church needs to embody best practice in safeguarding in our network of parishes, schools and chaplaincies as part of our commitment to excellence in pastoral care.
Many of these resources are already being used widely across our churches, but we thought it would be helpful to gather them into one place for ease of access. Collectively they are neither the first word nor the last word on this subject, but they are offered in the hope that by God’s grace the Church may become a safer place where everyone is valued.”