In the second week of the Sydney Anglican Synod a new ‘Safe Ministry’ website was officially launched to provide protection and care for everyone in our church.
An important part of that website is a video by Archbishop Glenn Davies in which he provides a formal apology to survivors of sexual abuse in the church. Here is an excerpt of his statement:
As Archbishop of Sydney, it is my privilege to meet with survivors of sexual abuse. Often these persons have been abused as children or as vulnerable persons in certain circumstances, and they have been abused at the hands of church workers and clergy in our diocese.
As I meet with these survivors, I am appalled as I listen to their stories. It is an abhorrent situation to find that they have been abused by those who should have looked after them, cared for them and in whom they put their trust and yet they had abused their trust by behaving in such terrible fashion with these people. I offer them an apology on behalf of the Anglican Church in the Diocese of Sydney, saying sorry that this has taken place in our church.
In the 1990s, Archbishop Harry Goodhew addressed these issues and gave an apology to survivors of abuse. It was well known in the society then, and in the church it had become obvious that we too had been at fault. Archbishop Peter Jensen followed him and he also gave an apology. And I, in like manner, give my apology to all those survivors of abuse. We have betrayed your trust. It should never have happened and I am deeply sorry. But we want to see Christ honoured as Lord and Saviour in every community and that is why we are addressing this issue as seriously as we are with professional development for our clergy and lay workers, so that this kind of behaviour will never be seen again in our churches.
Please visit www.safeministry.org.au to find out more about our zero tolerance for misconduct and abuse, as well as many other related resources.