With the threat of the Coronavirus affecting large numbers in our communities, this week has seen a focus on other, sometimes hidden, related issues facing vulnerable individuals. For many families, lockdown is a disaster. Shut up with violent siblings or parents, or partners, vulnerable people are at risk of being attacked, injured or even killed. In the past week, through Anti-Bullying Week 2020, charities and concerned individuals and groups have been raising awareness of the danger many victims of bullying are in. They have shone a light on bullying at home, at school, on the streets, in the workplace, and in care institutions, especially places that look after those with disabilities and people who are reaching the end of their lives. Right across the board, Christians believe how we treat each other is a sign of how much we love Christ.
Of course, it’s not just Christians who care. It should be a mark of all beliefs and of none, that we care for one another. As part of Trans Awareness Week, I attended, on Zoom, a cross-denominational Kabbalat Shabbat led by trans people to mark Trans Day of Remembrance at Edgware and Hendon Reform Synagogue, on Friday evening – a truly remarkable service of power and sadness, reflecting on the prejudice shown to our brothers and sisters in the trans communities.
The United Reformed Church prides itself on having a strict set of guidelines to ensure proper safeguarding is in place in all our churches, especially during this Covid emergency. But there is more to be done and each church can make a difference by providing safe spaces for vulnerable children and adults. I think Jesus would expect nothing less.