“Be a Child-Safety Champion” | Archdiocese Child-Safe Workshop
“But Jesus said, “Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of heaven.”” | Matt 19:14 (NKJV)
May 26th, 2019 was a beautiful Autumn afternoon in Sydney… A great day to meet for a Child-Safe Workshop at that parish hall of St. Nicholas, Punchbowl. Clergy, members of parishes, and representatives from organisations in NSW were in attendance to hear of the importance of the safety of our children.
Representatives from ACOY, the Antiochian Orthodox Stewards, Sunday Schools, and more came to hear about what we are doing to create and foster a safe and loving environment for our children.
Although there have been previous workshops regarding Child-Safety, this was the first gathering organised by the Archdiocese ‘Child-Safe Committee’, the newly formed committee by H.E Metropolitan Basilios. Led by Khouriyeh Myriam Bahari (head of the Child-Safe Committee) and Dr. Fady Aoun, the key message was “Be a Child-Safety Champion”. This message which was directed to all in attendance, and one that needs to be widely communicated and affirmed by representatives and members of our archdiocese.
Those who attended learned of the purpose of the Child-Safe Committee including ensuring:
- The safety of children
- All children are respected and treated fairly
- Children’s families and communities are welcome and encouraged to participate in the organisation
- Children receive services from skilled and caring adults
The content of the workshop was frank and of supreme importance. Topics covered include:
- Understanding what child safety means
- Identifying risks to children
- Types of offenders
- What to do if a situation is identified
- Critical policies were outlined and the importance of understanding them
There was certainly a great deal amount of information to comprehend, but the depth of knowledge and experience from Kh. Myriam and Dr. Fadi meant that the workshop was formal yet interactive, serious yet engaging, professional yet welcoming. A demanding day means that attendees were treated to a variety of afternoon tea options… not only delicious, but provided an opportunity to discuss important thoughts between those in attendance.
A diamond-standard has been set… the path to achieve this will be long, though the words of spiritual wisdom provided by His Eminence, Metropolitan Basilios crystallised our strength. The attending representatives walked away confident in the goals, and departed feeling supported in establishing safe-practices in each part of Archdiocese.
We wish the representatives all the best, and we ask you all to pray for all involved in this most-blessed ministry in keeping our children safe not just in our churches, but in every aspect of their holy lives.
Here is to all our Child-Safety Champions!