Statement from The Bishop of Southwark
As the Bishop of Southwark, with oversight of our parish communities in South London and East Surrey, I am very glad to endorse the initiative to draw together in one web site all that Churches and other Christian groups are doing to help end Serious Youth Violence (SYV).
I am wholeheartedly supportive of the Synergy Network, which does such good work to promote solidarity and co-operation, and make the whole greater than the sum of its parts. I express thanks to Canon Les Isaac, its founder, for the leadership he brings in so many critical areas. This Diocese of Southwark has enjoyed a long and fruitful relationship with Les, who is an Ecumenical Canon of Southwark Cathedral, and I have worked closely with him in support of Street Pastors and the Ascension Trust. This new initiative is yet a further step on that journey of working together for the good of all God’s people and for the healing of our community.
In this Diocese we are deeply committed to standing against SYV and its horrific impact on the lives of young people and their families in our communities.
An important element of this commitment is our work with Schools, supported by our Diocesan Board of Education which has oversight of more than a hundred Church Schools. We offer training to identify early signs of activities that can lead to SYV, and assist teachers in understanding adverse childhood experiences and their effect on SYV, and on the level of school exclusions.
The Diocese of Southwark is also made up of many diverse, overlapping multi-cultural communities, and we know that young people from BAME backgrounds can be disproportionately impacted by SYV, reflecting historic and present injustices. Our Christian commitment to the truth that all are made in the image of God motivates us to seek and serve all those whose lives are at risk from SYV.
No single body can achieve all that needs to be done, so we willingly work in partnership with other groups and agencies, and are involved in the pan-London response of Anglican churches to SYV.
In all this we seek to live out in a sometimes harsh day-to-day reality the love and welcome of God, in obedience to Christ’s command to care for children and young people and welcome them in his name (Matthew 18:1–7). The Synergy Network portal will provide valuable information and advice about services offered and help to publicise events that organisations and individuals are hosting. We will encourage Parishes to make good use of it, to discover examples of good practice and find out how to get involved.
I warmly commend this partnership and heartily endorse the development of this web site.