“The National Safe Church Unit is an expression of our whole of Church commitment to ensuring that all parts of the Uniting Church are places where all people can feel safe,” said Dr Palmer.
“This commitment spans all our ministry and mission contexts, including congregations, agencies, hospitals and schools.”
The Unit is a collaboration of all of the Synods and the Assembly. It will be led by National Director Rev. John Cox, who was inducted into his role on the same day.
Dr Palmer said the National Safe Church Unit grew out of the UCA’s response to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.
“The Unit is part of our response to the lessons learned from the Royal Commission and to show that we have heard and responded to the stories of those impacted by the trauma of child sexual abuse.”
Dr Palmer noted, “This work is not only for those whose specific roles include child safety but is part of our expression of our every member ministry.”
“We are all called by God to take responsibility for creating and forming communities of trust, care and safety for all people, including our children.”
Rev. Cox said the Unit would contribute to the culture and life of our whole church, building safe places across the UCA.
“This work is about supporting the Church to be who we are called to be – a trustworthy, respectful, loving community in Christ, in which all people are safe, and can flourish.”
One of the first tasks for the unit is the creation of strong evidence-based policy frameworks and resources.
“These will further collaboration across the church to create consistency in processes and enhance our education, training and sharing of information to create the checks and balances the church needs to ensure safety,” said Rev. Cox.
Dr Palmer offered the following prayer and blessing for the work of the National Safe Church Unit
Gracious and loving God,
We give thanks for the collaboration and shared commitment to care and safety, that this National Safe Church unit represents.
We pray for all those who have responsibility for leading and providing oversight for The National Safe Church Unit, particularly for Rev John Cox. May your Spirit bless him with wisdom, strength and grace in his leadership of the Unit.
We pray for the Acting Chair of the National Safe Church Unit Governance Committee, our Assembly General Secretary, Colleen Geyer and the members of the Committee. May your Spirit guide them in supporting the work of the Unit and strengthening our life and witness as the Uniting Church.
God of love, bless all who work in this ministry of shaping a Safe Church, the gift of your loving, compassionate and hopeful presence.
Give wisdom and courage to all who participate in and are trained by this Unit. as they contribute to advocating for communities of safety and care, in which all people can flourish.
God of justice and healing, continue to inspire and bless the Uniting Church in Australia with your hope, grace and vision, in the name of Christ, Amen.
Photos: Megan Haryanto, QLD Synod