Our Church is abundantly blessed with gifted and committed clergy, employees and volunteers who offer their talents in full recognition of their obligations. In fact, the Church could not operate without the work of dozens of individuals who exercise a variety of ministries to persons within the church community and beyond.
St. George Memorial is committed to ensuring that our church is a holy place where the love of Christ can be modelled and learned. Our Baptismal Covenant identifies that we are to seek and serve Christ in all persons, loving our neighbour as ourselves (Book of Alternative Services, p. 159). A fundamental obligation, therefore, is to look after the welfare of all members of our community but especially those who are vulnerable through age, infirmity or particular circumstances of dependency. This is a sacred trust which must be responsibly and safely managed.
It is critical to ensure that those who exercise ministry on behalf of the Church, who are in positions of power and trust, be selected, trained and supported so that their ministry may be life-giving. In this way our Christian values are consistent with the legal concept of “duty of care.” Duty of care arises out of legal doctrines dealing with negligence. The duty of care is most obvious where a relationship of dependence exists.
Ministry is a privilege. Through our baptism we are all called to ministry using our varied and different gifts. (BAS pp. 158-160) The process of matching an individual’s gifts with the church’s needs requires church leaders use gifts of discernment, insight, courage and to speak the truth in love. From time to time, some individuals may feel a stronger call to a ministry than the church is able to affirm. However, only those who are perceived to have the appropriate gifts for the position will be permitted to minister. This principle is important to ensure that the recipients of the ministry, the individual who feels called to the ministry and the church are safe from harm. Those who offer themselves for ministry must have an attitude of servanthood and be willing to be trained, mentored and possibly reassigned, as needs dictate.
This Responsible Ministry: Screening in Faith policy is the means by which we respond to our call to offer our best to those we serve. It is necessary, therefore, that we discern gifts and determine a person’s suitability to a ministry position.