Faithfulness in Service, a revised draft national Code for the practice of pastoral ministry by clergy and lay church workers has been released for further public comment following extensive consultations with Australian Anglicans earlier this year.
"We received overwhelming support for a national approach to professional standards in the Church," said Garth Blake S.C., Chair of the Child Protection Committee, commenting on the first round of a broad, consultative process about standards in pastoral ministry. Committee members visited each Metropolitan diocese as well as the regional centres of Hobart, Bendigo, Bathurst and Townsville during August and September.
“Nearly 300 people came to hear what was proposed and over 40 written submissions were received. Our conversation with Anglicans from all parts of our Church was very fruitful and encouraging. The Code’s approach to bullying, domestic violence and professional development was strengthened accordingly.” Mr Blake added, “It showed us that Anglicans are very committed to having the highest standards of pastoral ministry in our Church.”
The Code sets out the proposed benchmarks for the practice of pastoral ministry throughout the Australian Church. Bishop Andrew Curnow, from the Diocese of Bendigo, considers the Code to be, “one of the most significant developments for the Church in many years. It will make an outstanding contribution to the future of ministry."
"Our aim is to see the Code adopted by all 23 dioceses of our Church so that there will be national standards governing the pastoral ministry of clergy and lay church workers in the mission of the Church. The Code is an important part of a comprehensive approach to ensure that all Anglican communities are safe places for children, adults and those who serve in Jesus’ name," said Mr Blake.
The Code addresses clergy and lay church workers, whether employed or volunteers in the Church, in two seperate documents. It will be presented for approval at the next meeting of General Synod to be held in Fremantle in October 2004. To meet this goal, the Committee has released the revised version for further public comment so that the whole church community can move forward together with confidence.
Responses should be sent to the Committee by 16 January 2004. Responses may be sent by email to [email protected], OR by mail to Code of Ethics, General Synod Office, Box Q190, QVB PO, Sydney, 1230. Copies of the Code can be found on the Anglican General Synod website at www.anglican.org.au.
The Child Protection Committee was set up by the Primate, Archbishop Carnley on behalf of the Anglican Church’s General Synod and its members are: Garth Blake S.C., Chair (Sydney), Helen Carrig (Adelaide), Bishop David Farrer (Wangaratta), Philip Gerber (Sydney) and Marilyn Redlich (Brisbane) each of whom have professional experience and skills in child protection and ethics.