As I reflect on my ministry
I came to this parish at a time when the Church was ‘different’. Within a few years we had been shaken to our bootstraps by scandals that could never have been imagined.
The confidence in the Church was deeply shaken.
I can admit , now , that I found this difficult. I came as a trusted community worker. I became a person whose integrity was completely and utterly challenged.
We were betrayed by a whole range of people who had used their positions of trust and respect to abuse other persons, mentally, physically and spiritually.
Personally I recognise that I went from being a person held in high regard to one who who was automatically distrusted.
In a few short years we went from the church being an institution where people could be safe to one where people were immediately suspicious.
One of the consequences of this was that numbers dropped quite dramatically.
In the mid 90s I would have expected that we might have had 200-250 worshippers each week.
It is now remarkable if we have half that number.
Nevertheless, I am still thankful that many people have done more than just reject the church’s ministry. They have recognised that the majority of Christian people continue to do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with their God.
The few, and I think it is ‘a few’ who have betrayed the trust that should have been expected of them, have seriously weakened the Church.
It is probably a good...but it is certainly a painful , thing.
I want to urge any who still are harbouring hurts to come forward and invite the processes to work for their benefit. I pray that I may not have been one who has precipitated any abuse.
For the rest of us, it is good to have had our egos deflated, and our self-importance crushed.
Jesus identifies not with the abuser, but with the abused. Not with the strong but with the weak. Not with the bully but with the victimised