Past Cases Review

Past Cases Review 2020-23

The Methodist Conference agreed in 2020 that the Methodist Church in Ireland undertakes a Past Cases Review of cases and situations where there have been safeguarding concerns and issues. This began in November 2020, and will bring an interim report to Conference in June 2022 with a final report anticipated in June 2023. A small committee has been formed to oversee this work with Deborah Webster as Chair and Rev Dr Stephen Skuce as the vice chair.

We would like to give our people – the Methodist Church in Ireland- the opportunity to talk about any Safeguarding related issues that they may have encountered at some stage in the past, so that we can learn and make amends if needs be. Some things will rightly be left in the past as, rightly or wrongly, certain actions, reactions and attitudes were deemed acceptable at the time. However, where there were indiscretions, crimes, damage or inaction, as a denomination, we must hold ourselves, and be held, accountable.  

The purpose of this review is to ascertain if there are any Safeguarding issues that have previously occurred within the life of the Methodist Church in Ireland which, were they subject to today’s standards, would be considered unacceptable, inappropriate, unethical, or in some instances illegal. So far Methodist ministers and lay employees have been contacted. We now wish to draw this to the attention of our circuits and congregation and to anyone to whom this is relevant, to invite any response.

We are grateful if you can draw this to the attention of all to whom this may be relevant.  

Any responses should be made to .

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Chair – Deborah Webster

Deborah is the founder of ‘Thrive Academy’, a social enterprise which delivers bespoke education in digital resilience to young people, their parents, teachers, and youth leaders.  From 2006-2017 Deborah was the Safeguarding Co-ordinator for the Presbyterian Church in Ireland. Her role involved the delivery of safeguarding training, providing advice on safeguarding issues and updating the churches’ safeguarding guidelines, ‘Taking Care’.  Deborah chaired the Faith Based Safeguarding Group, was a member of Access NI’s Stakeholders’ Forum and designed and implemented the Taking Care: Training the Trainers Programme, and was an ambassador for CEOP (Child Exploitation Online Protection).  Deborah is in the final stages of a PhD at Queens University, Belfast where she has been researching the relationship between social media use and adolescent wellbeing. 

Vice Chair – Rev Dr Stephen Skuce

Stephen has been an Irish Methodist minister for over 30 years, and served in Irish circuits, as a university chaplain, as a mission partner in Sri Lanka, and for about half his ministry in Britain where he was academic dean at Cliff College, Director of Research for British Methodism and finally Director of Global Relationships for that denomination.  He is currently North Western District Superintendent for Irish Methodism and is managing the Past Cases Review Process.