“The Lord has anointed me; he has sent me
to bring good news to the oppressed, to bind up the broken-hearted, to proclaim
liberty to the captives and release to the prisoners” (Isaiah 61, 1:2).
These are the words which were echoed by Jesus in Nazara as he embarked on his
mission (Luke 4, 18:19).
Before returning to the Father, Jesus entrusted his mission to his disciples
– “As the Father sent me, so am I sending you” (John 20:21).
The same words are addressed to the Church today, which is called to go out
to the weak and vulnerable, to bring good news to the poor, and healing to those
suffering from wounds. Bishops, because of their pastoral role in the dioceses,
and Congregational Leaders, because they are responsible for their communities
are called to inspire and lead others in the way of Christ.
Being loved and being kept safe go to the very core of the Church’s
ministry to children and vulnerable adults. The Church should also be a community
in which abused people know they can find healing and justice and right relationships
restored. This is particularly important when the abusive behaviour has come
from trusted members of the community who have broken the trust placed in them.
Christ came to heal the wounds of sin and division. The Church has the same
The work of safeguarding people has to be seen within the overall mission
of the Church: otherwise it starts to look bureaucratic and burdensome, and
what should be life-affirming becomes life-draining and the community loses
hope. As she seeks to protect the vulnerable and weak, the Church needs “to
act justly, love tenderly and walk humbly with God” (Micah 6:8). It is
a ministry of love and healing and seeks justice for all.
The Church is called to live and proclaim the good news of
Jesus Christ and to transform the cultures in which Christian
communities are found. The Church is called to be a sign of
hope “capable of providing generations to come with reasons
for living and hoping”.1