THIS WEEK at St. Stephen’s … September 18, 2011
There can hardly be a Canadian who did not breathe an enormous sigh of relief at the release of three-year-old Kienan Hebert last week, following his abduction in the middle of the night from his home in Sparwood, BC. What parents did not follow this horrific story, as if it were happening to them, drawing their own children close for safety’s sake?
Children matter. We do not need to be reminded by the Old Testament prophets that a people is judged by how it treats its most vulnerable members, which is how God is said to judge the nations. We already know that how we treat the children in our midst is a measure of the safety we offer to the rest of the world through our churches. And safety is vital to our mission and ministry, “sanctuary” being at the very heart of our identity, as well as our building.
So it seems fitting that we have embarked on an assessment of the place of children at St. Stephen’s: of their inclusion in the life of our parish, of the programs we create with them in mind, and of their safety in our midst. We have called this our “Year of the Child”. Dariel Bateman, our Deputy People’s Warden, is heading up a task force to study the place of children here and to make recommendations at our Annual General Meeting. It can only make us a better—and safer—congregation.