A former President of the Methodist Conference, Rev. Graham Thompson, has been banned from preaching within the Methodist Church for a minimum of twelve months.
This decision comes in the wake of a thorough investigation into his role as a safeguarding leader within the church district.
The investigation, carried out by the Methodist Church, was prompted by concerns raised regarding Rev. Graham Thompson’s performance as the chair of the district in safeguarding leadership.
The Methodist Church, in a statement, expressed its commitment to safeguarding and ensuring the safety of its members. The statement read: “The Safeguarding Committee has concluded that Mr. Thompson should not participate in any front-facing, preaching, or pastoral roles within the Methodist Church for a period of at least 12 months. During this time, he will also undergo additional safeguarding training.”
The church emphasized its deep regret for any individuals or the broader church community that may have been affected when proper safeguarding practices were not upheld. It reiterated that safeguarding is a core aspect of its mission, and it is determined to make its churches safe for everyone. The church pledged to continue supporting survivors, responding to disclosures, and addressing allegations of misconduct, regardless of the individuals involved.
Rev. Graham Thompson had been serving as the President of the Methodist Conference until June, just a week before he and the Vice-President, Anthony Boateng, were set to hand over their roles to their successors. However, Rev. Thompson’s suspension from his duties occurred in a surprising move by the church.
This decision is part of a broader effort by the Methodist Church to ensure the safety and well-being of its members. It reflects the church’s commitment to upholding safeguarding standards at all levels of its organization, regardless of an individual’s position or seniority within the church.
The specific details of the investigation have not been disclosed, but the Methodist Church has made it clear that its primary focus is to create a secure environment for all its members. The decision to suspend Rev. Thompson from preaching and pastoral roles underscores the church’s dedication to upholding the highest standards of safeguarding within its community.
The church’s statement highlights its commitment to taking swift and appropriate action in cases where safeguarding standards may have been compromised. It serves as a reminder of the importance of safeguarding policies and procedures in religious organizations and the broader community.
As for Rev. Anthony Boateng, who was also suspended during the same period, the church described his suspension as a ‘neutral act.’ Further details about his suspension and any potential implications were not provided in the statement.
The Methodist Church’s decision to ban Rev. Graham Thompson from preaching for at least twelve months is a significant step in addressing concerns raised regarding safeguarding practices within the church. It sends a clear message that the church is determined to rectify any issues and maintain a safe environment for all its members.
The church’s commitment to additional safeguarding training for Rev. Thompson during his suspension underscores its dedication to education and improvement in this vital area. The statement reaffirms that the church will continue to prioritize the safety and well-being of its members, and it remains steadfast in its mission to support survivors and address allegations of misconduct within its community.