Blog from the Vicarage – 31 October 2021

A message from the vicar of St Peter’s, Rev John Rainer

Dear friends,

Keeping everyone safe

In recent years we have got used to the idea of carrying out criminal record checks on volunteers and church workers who have regular contact with children and vulnerable adults. A number of high profile cases nationally have made this an essential part of  ensuring that all church activity is safe. These checks are now known as DBS checks (it stands for Disclosure and Barring Service), and some of you will already have been through the process. The Church of England now has clearly defined regulations about which church offices and roles require the holders to undergo DBS checking.

DBS checks are time-limited and need to be renewed. During the recent lockdowns when much church activity has had to be curtailed, it is possible that quite a few of us have let our DBS clearance expire. Others of you may find that you now require DBS clearance when you did not need this in the past.

For this reason I am going to ask that we use the month of November as a time to check that everyone’s DBS clearance is valid and up to date. Applying for DBS clearance is now quite easy to do online if you have internet access. Help will be available via the Church Office to anyone without internet connection.

Once you have completed the online process, you will need to show evidence of identity, e.g. passport, birth certificate,  to one of our parish DBS checkers. Currently these are Mike Moss, Rachel McGirr, Julie Rainer and Judith Hudson. You will then be issued with a DBS certificate which will cover a period of three years, and I will need to know the certificate number and expiry date.

For some of you, you will have DBS clearance for your employment or possibly from another area of voluntary activity e.g. a school or a hospital. This is usually acceptable as long as it has not expired, and I will still need to know the certificate number and expiry date. However, the Church of England, under its Safer Recruitment Policy, now requires parishes to obtain a simple reference (similar to a job reference) for all volunteer roles. This will be issued online wherever possible, but must also be returned to me. For some roles you may also be asked to complete a short online course on Safeguarding from the Diocese.

I am sorry if all this seems rather tedious and complicated. I hope you will understand that the Church of England has adopted this approach to ensure that as far as possible, all people are kept safe when they participate in any church activity. By asking everyone to check now, we are trying to prevent a lot of inconvenience in the future.

If you have a DBS certificate, please find it and check it in readiness for November! You don’t need to do anything else now unless and until you hear from me in the coming days.

Pre-Christmas Appeals during November

Over the next month we would like to assist with two appeals for help in readiness for Christmas. The Foodbank is appealing for particular foodstuffs to put together Christmas Food Parcels for their clients. To do this they need donations before the end of November. We will let you know exactly what these should be, and there will be collection points in church on Advent Sunday 28th November.

At the same time, Revd Jenny Ramsden, formerly of this congregation, is appealing for specific non-food items for the Bradford Womens’ Refuge. Again we will list these for you via the newsletter, and provide a collection point in church on Advent Sunday.

Your generosity at Harvest time was amazing – thank you. We are sorry to be asking again so soon, but this is essential if the help is to be delivered in time for Christmas. If you aren’t going to be around on 28th November, you can leave donations in the Office beforehand.

With love and prayers,

John Rainer

Lord God, teach us to contemplate you
in the beauty of the universe.
Awaken our praise and thankfulness
for every being that you have made.
God of love, show us our place in this world
as channels of your love
for all the creatures of this earth,
for not one of them is forgotten in your sight.
Enlighten those who possess power and money
that they may avoid the sin of indifference,
that they may love the common good, advance the weak,
and care for this world in which we live.
The poor and the earth are crying out.
O Lord, seize us with your power and light,
help us to protect all life,
to prepare for a better future,
for the coming of your Kingdom
of justice, peace, love and beauty.
Praise be to you!