December 2022 SMR News

Dear reader,

Welcome to the last Newsletter for the year!
And as usual, a special hello to the numerous people new to the role of SMR - welcome to the madhouse of Safe Ministry! :)

This is brief edition to finish the year off, but I hope you find it helpful and encouraging. The main new info is the first item below about the Child Safe Standards, and then I have repeated the items from the last newsletter about visiting leaders over the holiday period and Safe Ministry Training for your action.

Key Points:

  • Child Safe Resources
  • Visiting leaders during summer
  • Now is the time to get trained
  • Christmas greetings

Child Safe Standards

The activity around implementing the Child Safe Standards in an explicit way in organisations with children's activities is growing. Starting in 2023, the OCG will start auditing organisations that run children's activities for compliance with the ten Child Safe Standards.
This is NOT anything to worry or panic about, but it should push all our churches to crack on with making the Child Safe Standards clear and obvious in the Safe Ministry policies and practices in our churches.
NOTE: This compliance is NOT primarily your responsibility as the SMR. You probably have an oversight role, but the hard work needs to be done by the ministry leaders in your parish - from the Senior Minister down.

The Office of the Children's Guardian (OCG) has a LOT of resources to help your ministry leaders to get their heads around this. Here are a few:
Of course, these are all from a secular perspective, but they still have huge value to any organisation looking to implement the Standards. Please share them as you see fit with your ministry leaders
And there is our very own Frontline podcast episode from earlier this year where we talked about the Standards: https://safeministry.org.au/frontline-podcast-episode-12/

Stay tuned in 2023 for more info about how the Child Safe Standards can and should work in our churches.

Visiting Leaders

Is your church hosting a team of visiting leaders this summer?
Please check with your church leadership if this is happening, and be aware that any visiting leaders who are working with children will need to have Safe Ministry Training that we accept - so either our training or one of the accepted training sources listed on this page: https://safeministry.training/knowledge-base/how-should-we-treat-training-from-another-anglican-church-or-denomination/
Be quick to act on this so any visiting leaders have time to complete our training if they need to.

For short-term visiting leaders (generally less than 5 days), they can be exempt from the Safe Ministry Check.

Visiting speakers/preachers
In a related matter, you should be aware that whenever a visiting speaker or preacher comes to your church, if there are children present at the speaking/preaching event (like a church service), you should collect the speakers WWCC details, verify the WWCC and record it in your Safe Ministry Records. If the person is engaging with children other than incidentally, they will need current SMT and you should record that info too.
Obviously, this info needs to be obtained BEFORE they turn up on the day!

Time to get trained!

This is my regular November reminder to urge anyone in your churches whose training is coming up for renewal - or for people who will need to do SMT for the first time - to NOT delay in doing so.
From now through to end of March is our busiest training of the year, with webinars in high demand and the Christmas/New Year break to factor in.

Things to consider:
  • From late November through to March is our peak training time. While the system manages the numbers fine, and we put on lots of extra webinars, people still get caught out.
    The answer: Do the training EARLY!
  • The webinars have a finite limit to the number of attendees at any one webinar. This is determined by our software licence and by the ability of the Presenter/Producers to manage the group. So when they reach capacity, we can't 'just squeeze one more in' - no matter how desperate they are!
  • If your church is running school holiday kids programs, please do all you can to get people trained well ahead of time. We always see people rushing and also sometimes complaining they cannot get into a webinar before the kids program starts.
  • While we do not advertise this publicly until closer to the time, it can be helpful for SMRs to know that:
    The last webinar for 2022 will be on December 21st
    The first webinar for 2023 will be on January 10th

Christmas Greetings

It is hard to grapple with the arrival of yet another Christmas, and it can be easy to start feeling a little cynical about the season when we are surrounded by secular takes on the festival that totally miss the point, and when we all seem to be extra weary after a year of emerging from covid - yet still dealing with infections.
But if anything, those things should drive us back to scripture and to be reminded why we do see this time of year as highly significant and special.

A passage of the bible not often read at carol services is from the prophet Zephaniah (after whom our latest grandchild is named!):
"Sing, Daughter Zion;
shout aloud, Israel!
Be glad and rejoice with all your heart,
Daughter Jerusalem!
15 The Lord has taken away your punishment,
he has turned back your enemy.
The Lord, the King of Israel, is with you;
never again will you fear any harm.
16 On that day
they will say to Jerusalem,
“Do not fear, Zion;
do not let your hands hang limp.
17 The Lord your God is with you,
the Mighty Warrior who saves.
He will take great delight in you;
in his love he will no longer rebuke you,
but will rejoice over you with singing.
Zephaniah 3:14-17

I like this passage for its focus on the joy of realising what God has done for us. Zephaniah did not know Jesus of course, but his words clearly point forward in time from when he wrote them to focus people on the fact that "the Lord the King of Israel, is with you, never again will you fear any harm". We see that in buckets in the coming of Jesus.
Further, "He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing." Reminding us how the baby in the Christmas manger grew up to bring us forgiveness from our sin and a place in God's family forever.

So I hope that you find the headspace this Christmas to pause, ponder the extraordinary gift that God gives us, and rejoice with Zephaniah and all the countless saints since then who understand the significance of those words.

May you and your families and churches be greatly blessed this Christmas with a renewed sense of joy at the 'King of Israel' with us.
FireShot Pro Screen Capture #078 - '(3) Sydney Anglican SMR's I Facebook' - www_facebook_com_groups_173114257798286

SMR Facebook Group

A reminder that we have a private Facebook group just for SMR's
  • 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 proving to 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:

That's it for this edition and this year - we'll be back in early 2023 to keep working on better Safe Ministry for our churches...

If you are no longer the SMR for your church, please unsubscribe using the link below and drop me an email to let me know.

With warm regards

Neil Atwood
Parish Consultant
02 9265 1547
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