THREE recipients of the Lambeth Awards who have worked to improve safeguarding in the Church of England have said that more still needs to be done to gain the trust of abuse survivors.
The awards are given by the Archbishop of Canterbury each year to people “who have made outstanding contributions to the church and wider society”. The recipients of this year’s awards were announced on Tuesday.
Phil Johnson, who chairs Minister and Clergy Sexual Abuse Survivors (MACSAS), was awarded the Canterbury Cross for Services to the Church of England. He said, however, that he had “had to think long and hard about accepting this award”.
He said: “Whilst I think that the work that I have contributed is worthy of recognition, there are so many other survivors who remain unacknowledged and unappreciated. So I accept this award on behalf of all survivors of abuse in the Church.
“Some survivors will not be happy with my acceptance of this honour and I completely understand this. Too many people who suffered abuse in their past have been treated terribly by the Church, its insurers, lawyers, safeguarding advisers and even members of the clergy.”
Jo Kind, a committee member of MACSAS who sits on the National Safeguarding Panel as a survivor representative, also received the Canterbury Cross. She said that there were “so many others . . . working hard to ensure that the churches are safe places to be. . . There is still a long way to go to ensure that the response when reporting abuse to the C of E is consistently open, courageous, truth-seeking, truth-accepting, compassionate, and restorative for victims.”
Dr Margaret Kennedy, the founder of MACSAS, received the Langton Award for Community Service. She said that “it was survivors of clergy abuse themselves that spurred me on. I was merely hearing their voices and trying to change things. The award goes to all of us.”
She continued “Present day MACSAS continues to actively engage and challenge churches on child abuse.”
For a full list of recipients, see Gazette