Safeguarding: Past Cases Review

February 1st 2021

In November 2020 the Methodist Church in Ireland began a Safeguarding Past Cases Review. This encompasses cases and situations where there has been any safeguarding concerns or issues. A final report is anticipated in June 2023. It began with requests for any comments and insights from all Methodist ministers and then lay employees. Phase two is the more public stage with a request for all Methodist Circuits to respond and an invitation for anyone to contact us to raise any concerns.

This review is not prompted by any problems within Irish Methodism or any wider community issues. It is in line with the actions of some other denominations and charitable organisations, such as the Methodist Church in Britain who produced Courage, Cost and Hope - Past Cases Review ( in 2015.

Our purpose is to learn further from the past in order to enable the Methodist Church in Ireland to be as safe a space as it is possible to be. The Past Cases Review includes all ministers and lay employees, all circuits and individual congregations, and the Church is now seeking to make this Review widely known so that anyone to whom this is relevant may hear and be able to make their view known.

The Methodist President, Rev Dr Tom McKnight, remarked

“An important part of our current safeguarding responsibilities as a Church is to learn from any issues that may have arisen in the past. Commitment to such a task is part of our witness in today’s world.”

The process is chaired by Deborah Webster, a former Presbyterian Church in Ireland Safeguarding Officer, who brings a wealth of personal skill and understanding to this process, in addition to a detachment from Irish Methodism which will help ensure the transparency and objectivity of this process. Deborah commented that ‘It is extremely commendable that the Methodist Church in Ireland has taken this step to learn lessons from the past. I am confident that the process will improve current safeguarding policies and practices and ultimately will ensure that children and young people involved in the life and ministry of the congregations will be better protected today and in the future as a result.”

Details are available here | The Methodist Church in Ireland

Rev Dr Tom McKnight, President of the Methodist Church in Ireland

Rev Dr Heather Morris, General Secretary of the Methodist Church in Ireland

For further information Rev Roy Cooper, Press Secretary of the Methodist Church in Ireland