An Introduction to the Anglican Communion Safe Church Commission

The Lambeth Call on Safe Church will be the next theme in a discussion series being organised by the Anglican Communion Office this April. The Lambeth Call on Safe Church was shared by bishops at the Lambeth Conference in 2022, and is supported by the Anglican Communion Safe Church Commission.

The series will share more information about the Lambeth Call and profile the work of the Anglican Communion Safe Church Commission. The Commission was established at the request of the Anglican Consultative Council in 2016 (ACC-16) to work for greater safeguarding practice within the churches of the Anglican Communion.

The Commission draws its membership from a range of geographical regions across the Anglican Communion, with a mixture of lay persons and clergy and a balanced gender representation. All the members are volunteers.

The aims of the safe church commission are to:

  1. Promote the safety of people within churches of the Anglican Communion – with a particular focus on children, young people and vulnerable adults;
  2. Be an advisory body for the effective implementation of the Guidelines in the provinces of the Anglican Communion;
  3. Develop resources to support and equip Bishops, clergy and lay leaders to implement the Guidelines and enhance the safety of all in their church communities;
  4. Develop capacity building resources and offer Safe Church training; and
  5. Establish and maintain networks of support with Provincial Safe Church Representatives.

In fulfilling these aims, the Safe Church Commission understands safeguarding not only as a legal or ethical requirement, but also a spiritual one, deeply embedded in the values and callling of the Christian faith in the Anglican tradition.

Dr Kim Barker, a member of the Safe Church Commission and its Co-opted Facilitator says: “Safeguarding is a practical way of honouring God, loving others and living out our witness as a community of faith. Our safeguarding practices are therefore an expression of the Gospel: resisting the abuse of power (justice), defending and protecting the vulnerable (mercy) and following Jesus’ example of treating every person with respect, dignity and compassion, regardless of their age, gender or position in society (humility).”

Phases of work by the Safe Church Commission

  • 2017 to 2019: the Commission identified safeguarding policies and procedures already in place within the Anglican Communion and developed safeguarding guidelines for implementation by each province: Guidelines to enhance the safety of all persons within the provinces of the Anglican Communion (‘the Guidelines’). The Guidelines were approved by the Anglican Consultative Council in 2019 (ACC-17) and provinces were encouraged to implement them. The Commission also offers capacity building and liaises with Provincial Safe Church Representatives.
  • July-August 2022: the Commission delivered a Safe Church plenary session and three seminars at the Lambeth Conference and prepared a Safe Church Call, which received the unanimous support of the bishops present.
  • February 2023: the Anglican Consultative Council (at ACC-18) passed a resolution committing the ACC to making the implementation of Safe Church practices a focus and priority across the Communion and endorsing the ongoing work of the Commission in developing resources to support this work.
    Resources available

The Commission has developed a range of Safe Church resources – and continues to provide information to assist Provinces.

Announcing: 'Safe Church'.
Next in Phase 3 of the Lambeth Conference

open to all:
the Phase 3 webinars