Thursday, January 31, 2013

CSPN Conference Summary

"...but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened around his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea."
Matthew 18:6

I was asked several times before I came why it was necessary to travel so far for these meetings. Over the course of the past week, it has been impressed upon me not only the extreme importance of taking the issue of Child Protection and Safety very seriously; but also the validity of taking part in the workshops and seminars offered by the Child Safety and Protection Network. The sensitive nature of the subject matter lends itself to a necessity for interaction and discussion, something that is not achievable in the same way via video.

I have learned a great deal this week, and become acutely aware of the inherent dangers that lay in wait for children. Often in unexpected places with unexpected people. I have had the privilege to attend workshops on the following topics throughout the week; Learning from our past, Lessons learned from the Catholic sexual abuse scandal, Interviewing children, Indicators of abuse, Building boundaries for young children, Peer abuse, Privileges and perils of growing up in a "God system", prosecuting offenders. Needless to say, it has been a week of challenging subject matter.

We have a responsibility to protect children, and with that knowledge, we are in sin if we do not do everything in our power to do so.

"So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin."
James 4:17

When you are asked to file police checks or submit to child safety training, or follow procedures put in place for child protection - it is not simply a clerical nuisance put in place to make you miserable. We are striving, to the best of our abilities to achieve the best practices of Child Safety and Protection. This has been phased in over several years, and this year we will have a zero tolerance for derelict applications. So get on those asap so that you won't be denied service with ANBC or NCEM in 2013!
  Here are a few shots of the beautiful facility that we have enjoyed during this weeks conference. (Pat loaned me her picture taking apparatus).

The diningroom

Some of the campus, our accommodations were in "Asia House"

The fountain and globe

Pat in the dining room by the soda fountains

Lovely fresh fruit available all the time

the cafeteria

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

CSPN Conference Introduction

I had a full day of travel yesterday, my alarm went off at 2:15am to launch me into my journey. After a delay due to some technical problems with the plane, I flew out of Moncton (where it was -17˚ by the way) and through to Pearson and LaGuardia, ultimately landing in Richmond Virginia. I was met there by Pat Elford and some other folks attending the conference. We arrived at the International Learning Center (a ministry of IMB, an entity of the Southern Baptist Convention) at about 6:30 local time, just in time for a nice supper in the cafeteria. The accommodations are very nice, the staff friendly and helpful; it will be a very pleasant stay for the week. I wish I could post pictures, but alas, I have no picture producing apparatus. By the way, it is supposed to be 21˚ here today, it feels like May back home. The Child Safety Protection Network Conference has a full schedule that includes break out sessions, workshops, a plenary speaker and times of worship together. There are representatives here from 37 mission organizations taking part in the various training sessions.

My first scheduled sessions this afternoon are for the "Newcomers Orientation". It is a prerequisite seminar that is intended to provide a common foundation regarding the reality of abuse in the Christian setting, how abuse occurs, and a basis for both preventing and response, and facilitate information regarding the goals and progress that has been made to date on the Child Safety and Protection Network.

It is a difficult topic, but, sadly it is a reality, and as Camp managers we need to be aware and prepared. The safety and security of our campers and staff is a huge responsibility and not something to be approached lightly.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Happy New Year...

Now that January is almost over, it would seem that I have been a little negligent of posting updates to our blog. We enjoyed a nice Christmas break in Nova Scotia, and returned shortly after New Years day. It was nice to have a bit of vacation with friends and family. It was very exciting for us to share in Ivy's first Christmas.

Our Holiday festivities weren't without incident however, I fell after Christmas and damaged myself. Initially I presumed to have sprained my arms, there were bruises and a good deal of pain. So, as I had decided that they were simply sprained I elected to let them heal on their own and didn't go to the clinic. After coming home to New Brunswick, the bruises were healing, but the pain and mobility were not. So I went for an x-ray, to find out that I had two fractures in my left elbow and one in my right. Further to that, they had no treatment option. So, I am left to my own healing, which reportedly,  will take a couple of months. But, I'm fine.

We had our first ANBC Advisory Team meeting of 2013 this past Saturday. There are some exciting new things afoot for this year. Stay tuned here for updates on the progress of planning our events and schedule for this year.

I will be leaving in the wee hours of Monday morning for Richmond Virginia. My flight leaves at 6:00am, which means I need to be heading out of Cumberland Bay at about 3:15am or so. Prior to Christmas, I received a call from NCEM General Director, Albert Heal. NCEM has five summer Bible camps and a Bible school, and numerous children's Bible Clubs and Sunday School ministries. It is vital for us to be aware and sensitive to the needs and safety of those children. As a manager of a Bible Center, they felt it would be valuable to have me as a representative on the committee. The conference is run by the Child Safety Protection Network and will take place at at the IMB: International Learning Center in Rockville, VA. If I am able I will post an update or two throughout next week. I will be attending the conference with Albert Heal and Pat Elford. It promises to be a challenging conference, we covet your prayers as we take in the meetings and discuss issues surrounding children's ministries.