I can’t say when last I’d heard that word. I heard it now in response to a question to friend around the “one thing” – the proverbial silver bullet – I should keep in mind to make a success of ministry in Ireland. He is a minister in the Methodist Church of England but I thought contexts are similar enough to warrant the question. I’m a romantic for sure: I’ve been in ministry over twenty years and I still believe there is a single thing that can be done to make it work; rather than a (proven) million things to make it fail. I wasn’t prepared for his response: safeguarding.
Safeguarding is a BIG thing here, I cannot over-emphasize this. He continued: “Don’t have meetings without recording what happened. Don’t meet alone with anyone, and NEVER with a woman. Take someone with you. Oh, and you cannot, CAN-NOT, be alone with a child. There must always be someone with you, another adult.”I was hoping for something new, a vanguard ministry tool, instead I received a lesson in legislation tinged with paranoia. You cannot be too careful.