A Message from Bishop Edgar:
I am pleased to announce that, with the Standing Committee’s concurrence, I have appointed the Revd Laura Bowman to be our diocesan Canon for Safe Churches. This appointment is a part of, and demonstrates our ongoing commitment to, making our diocese and our churches safe places for everyone, especially our children and youth.
For the past year, the Standing Committee has been working to bring our diocesan program for church safety in line with best practices that have been learned from around the ACNA and the wider church. Our training for clergy, church staff, and volunteers is strong, and our Canons outline clearly how perpetrators are dealt with if found guilty. We felt our greatest need was to make clearer how incidents were to be more easily reported, and how investigations were to proceed.
During our research and planning it became clear that a point person was needed to ensure faithful, ongoing compliance by our churches; a simple, straightforward route for incident reporting; and a person who would oversee the process of investigations, ensuring that both victims and the accused had pastoral care and support; clear communication throughout the investigation process; and professional, trauma informed investigators conducting the process.
Canon Laura Bowman is a priest in good standing, currently serving at Church of the Holy Cross, Sullivan’s Island. She has a background in law enforcement that particularly suits her for the difficult conversations and decisions such an office may demand. Her kindness, openness, and thoroughness make her especially suited for this role. I am grateful that she has accepted this critical appointment and look forward to serving with her—all the while praying that her unique giftedness will never need to be put to the test in our diocese.