March 2021 News

Dear reader,
Somehow February passed us by in terms of a newsletter, and March is halfway through already, so here is this months':
Welcome to all first time readers - hope this is helpful to you.

Key Points:
  • Bullying - new resource on website, plus other resources for both survivors/victims of abuse and clergy and church workers.
  • Some reflections on 3+ years of online training.
Teenage Girl Being Bullied By Text Message


In the context of our churches, there are two kinds of bullying that should concern us:
  • Members of our churches that experience bullying from outside the church. This is often seen mainly with children or teenagers.
  • Bullying experienced by church members from other church members or from church staff. And sometimes the other way around: staff experience bullying from church members. This should be of most concern for us and is the focus of the following.
We have just put a new page up on the website to provide some information on bullying. At the moment, it mainly repeats the information we have in our Safe Ministry Training courses, but there are new brochures for people who wish to complain about bullying in our churches and those that are accused of bullying that are downloadable from the new page and the Resource Documents page.
More information will be added to the web page in due course.

Please publicise this page and the brochures to your churches as best you can.

In addition, there are two other new brochures titled:
  • Taking Abuse and Other Misconduct Seriously
    Information for survivors and reporters of abuse
  • Taking Abuse and Other Misconduct Seriously
    Information for clergy and church workers
These are available on the Resource Documents page and the Report Abuse page.

Safe Ministry Training - 3+ years on

Safe Ministry Training started the move to online training in October 2017 when Refresher went online. That was followed by Essentials in February 2018.
Further significant changes happened when we took the big step and switched online platforms in May 2018 (for those interested: from Moodle to LearnDash).
Here are some reflections on how things are playing out 3.5 years later:

By the time the three years since May 2018 is up, we will have seen around 21,000 people create an account to go through one of our courses. At the start we estimated around 6,000-7,000 people per year, and so that has proved to be pretty close.
It is worth reflecting and thanking God for those numbers and how they reflect the amount of ministry to children and young people that happens in our churches.
It is by far the largest number in any mainstream denomination in Australia.
And don't forget, the whole system is run by three part time members of the Safe Ministry Team! :)

The early adopters
We are now seeing quite a few people coming back into training who were amongst the early 'guinea pigs' for our online training efforts.
This can be initially confusing for some people, because when we changed platforms in May 2018, we did not bring across any of the accounts people had set up in the first system we used.
So those people who did online training between October 2017 and May 14th 2018 will need to create a new account in the current system.
A note on the create account page does explain that, but it is still confusing some - usually the same people who expect there to be a history of their training in their new account. That doesn't happen, because the local parish is still the primary repository of Safe Ministry data for church members. We do have records of peoples training since going online, but this is primarily for our internal use.
Please feel free to reassure people that you have their training records nice and safe, and to go ahead and create a new account to enrol in their Refresher course.

As May comes closer, this will be less of an issue as any who started their training on or after May 14th will be in the current system.

Post webinar Topic
We are still seeing too many people who fail to do the final, post-webinar Topic in either Refresher or Essentials. This means their course is not completed and they do not receive a certificate.
As you speak with people you know are due to complete their course, do ask them if they have actually got their certificate yet, and if not, check with them whether they know they have a final Topic to complete.

Expiring Enrolments
Something else we are seeing a bit more of than usual.
When people enrol in any of our courses, that enrolment lasts for six months. This has nothing to do with when their training falls due, and is really a slightly random period we chose for the enrolment, because it seemed a ridiculously long time to allow someone to do a course that on average will take them at most around five hours.
But we are seeing a number of people running out of time and allowing their enrolments to expire.
This has a number of consequences:
  • It means people are taking way too long to do their training. If they start the course and then don't finish it six months later, they are very likely to have forgotten much of the early material.
  • If they are doing Refresher, it means they are likely to have allowed their training currency to lapse, which in turn means they will need to do Essentials to reinstate their training currency.
  • They get very frustrated because when their enrolment expires, all their course progress data is deleted, which means they need to re-enrol and start from the beginning again.
Note that they get many reminders by email as their enrolment period progresses, so ignorance is no excuse!

So again, if you are speaking with people who you know have started a course, please encourage them to finish it in a timely way.
FireShot Pro Screen Capture #078 - '(3) Sydney Anglican SMR's I Facebook' - www_facebook_com_groups_173114257798286

SMR Facebook Group

A reminder that ee have a private Facebook group just for SMR's
  • The main reason for the group: a safe and private place for SMR's to ask questions, support each other, share ideas or solutions to problems, etc
  • The address is: https://www.facebook.com/groups/173114257798286
  • Involvement in this group is entirely optional - but it is starting to take off and be a useful extra channel for SMR's to chat amongst themselves and pose questions to me.

Keeping up to date with news

Newsletter Archive
An archive of all SMR Newsletters (since we moved to our new system) is available here.
Email alerts
Your can subscribe to email alerts system for new content on the safeministry.org.au website:

Likewise, alerts for new content are posted to our Twitter account, and you can find that account and follow us to get those alerts here:
That's it for this edition...
With warm regards

Neil Atwood
Parish Consultant
02 9265 1547