Good friends were surprised to see my name in the statement from Emmanuel Wimbledon Trustees and Elders as someone coming in to help them process the recommendations from the 31:8 report (published last week). Several have been in touch since then to share their concerns, not so much because of the challenges and difficulties involved in such a role (although that certainly played its part I’m sure), but because of the anticipated effect on my mental equilibrium.
Regulars here will be aware that it’s not a particularly robust thing at the best of times! But I’ve been conscious of the anxiety levels building up, especially in the last week or so. In true stubborn fashion, I’ve been trying to tough it out, and even this morning, was feeling reasonably able to weather a rather absurd online rumour about me. But it all piles up and I have become increasingly aware that these are very choppy waters indeed.
I guess people will always draw all kinds of conclusions from stuff when trust has been broken. But I want to say very clearly for now that in no sense does this reflect the slightest lack of confidence in Sarah Hall or Gilly Briant (former and current Safeguarding Officers at Emmanuel) or the commitment of the Implementation Group that Gilly chairs. I know that they, and the church staff team under Robin Weekes, are taking the multiple recommendations with utmost seriousness. I just felt it better to let them down now before actually getting stuck in (so that they can find somebody better ASAP) rather than halfway through. I am only sorry that I didn’t figure this out long before the 11th hour of our work together.
I think in all this, we should all of course continue to be absolutely committed to the needs of survivors as paramount and to seeing truth and light prevail. These are dark subjects and nothing can afford to be swept under carpets. Progress has been made but a lot more work remains to be done. I am committed to praying and supporting this process as best I can from the sidelines.