Next week’s LCA General Synod in Sydney will reflect on Australia’s National Apology to Victims and Survivors of Institutional Child Sexual Abuse during the triennial churchwide meeting.
In the Australian Parliament on Monday 22 October, Prime Minister Scott Morrison will deliver the apology to people who were sexually abused as children in religious and non-religious institutions.
The landmark step is an outcome of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sex Abuse, which delivered its final report to the Governor General last December.
The five-year Royal Commission identified the LCA among churches which needed to acknowledge past failures to provide children with adequate protection from abuse in their institutions.
Chaplains will lead Synod in a time of reflection and repentance during an evening devotion at Convention, which is being held from 2 to 7 October.
LCA Bishop John Henderson said that ‘in recent years, through the Professional Standards Department, the LCA has invested significant hard work in an effort to improve our protection mechanisms across the church and its associated institutions’.
‘To help us acknowledge the National Apology as a community of Christian believers, the LCA Commission on Worship is preparing resources for congregations to use in worship services on Sunday 21 October’, Bishop Henderson said. ‘I encourage pastors and congregations to plan thoughtfully to include these resources into your scheduled divine service that Sunday.’
Earlier this year the LCA signed on to the Commonwealth Government’s National Redress Scheme for people who have experienced child sexual abuse in institutional settings.
‘The LCA is acknowledging the wrongs done to those who have experienced child sexual abuse in our church, and a commitment to support them’, Bishop Henderson said at that time. ‘This action is consistent with the commitment made by our General Synod in 2015 to care for and protect children while engaged in church activities.’
The National Redress Scheme will receive complaints and determine appropriate restitution over a 10-year period.
Read Bishop John Henderson’s Heartland eNews 27 September 2018