Service of Reflection and Hope

27/03/2018

TOWARDS A SAFER CHURCH

With Diocesan Safeguarding Adviser Ruth Rogan
www.newcastle.anglican.org/safeguarding

A Service of Reflection and Hope for all affected by child sexual abuse was held on 9 March at Newcastle Cathedral, led by Canon Clare MacLaren.

This was the first service of its kind in the diocese and we anticipate holding such services on a more regular basis as a prayerful focus for any one affected in any way by child sexual abuse.

The intention was to create a safe space within which people could participate as much or as little as they felt comfortable with. The short service included prayers, readings, music and silence. There were two scripture readings from Lamentations 3 v14-24 and some verses from 1 John Chapters 3 and 4.

Those who attended also had the opportunity to choose and hold a stone to help focus some of the difficult thoughts and feelings about child sexual abuse and then, if it felt appropriate, to lay the stone at the base of the cross.

We were then invited to light a floating candle as a symbol of our fragile hopes for the future.

It was moving to listen to the words of survivors, friends and relatives of victims and from someone who works professionally with adults who have been abused - all referring to the lasting impact child sexual abuse has and the importance of being listened to and supported.

It seemed fitting to be holding the service at the end of the first week of the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse public hearings related to the Anglican Church where the Diocese of Chichester is the case study under scrutiny.

However, the impetus for holding this service on this day relates to a survivor who had invited me to attend a service in Brisbane Cathedral Australia - that not being feasible, with Canon Clare’s help, our service was created.

If you are affected in any way by child sexual abuse or have a safeguarding concern you can contact Ruth Rogan on 07825 167016 or r.rogan@newcastle.anglican.org

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