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Please help. Church Dilemma

(52 Posts)
Jo4040 Thu 30-Jul-15 16:52:13

Please can I have some advice

We are a young family would like to begin to attend our local parish Church so that my DC cab begin to learn about our chosen religion.

However at this church there is a man who is a convicted pediophile and have been in and has been in prison for crimes against young boys. I know this is true because he groomed a close relative in my family.

This man is a dedicated Christian but due to the horrible crime he has commited my partner will not allow my DC to attend this church whilst he is there.

Nobody at this church knows about his past and he is treated with respect and this sickens me and my partner. I can't talk to the churches clergy as at this present time the priest is off sick with stress and to put this problem onto him would not be good just now (the vicar kniws of this man's previous conviction)

I attended this church as a small girl until my teens until I moved out of the area and I want my DS to recieve the same upbringing and memories of this church that I did.

I really dont know what to do about this,please advice

If this man was told not to come back to the church I firmly believe this man would end his life. The church is he life and he does so much for the church. He self harms (I know all this because my mother still attneds this church, she only gives him the time of day because noone at the church knows what he has done and she doesn't want to cause trouble)

There is absolutely no way that I can attend this church whilst this man is going. My OH has firmly said that he will not allow our children I to an environment where there is a convicted pediophile. We have asked the member of my family who this man groomed exactly what this man did, and his response was 'I'm not saying, its very disturbing, but he did tell us that one of this man's victims hung himself.

I want to start attending this church so much and we as a family could offer so much to the parish

Jo4040 Thu 30-Jul-15 16:53:28

Sorry about the bad grammar. Iv been thinking of posting for a while and I bit the bullet and just typed very fast!!

hedgehogsdontbite Thu 30-Jul-15 17:00:20

The church will not tell him he's not welcome.

Find a different church.

Jo4040 Thu 30-Jul-15 17:04:50

Why shoud I find a different church tho?!

My family have been attending this church for over forty years. I know people at this church who I grew up with and looked uup to when I was little. If they knew about this man I think they would be so upset to know they take their grandchildren to this parish.

My OH said he has got no problem approaching this man and telling him to stay away but like I said, the kind caring, side of me really doesn't want to think about what this would do to this man.

Also we live where the next church is quite far away and I don't drive, so when my OH won't be attending it will be quite difficult for me to get to another one

TeenageMutantNinjaTurtle Thu 30-Jul-15 17:09:10

Convicted paedophile. So he's served his time and been released and subsequently found a community to be a part of?

Totally within your rights not to attend or bring your children OP but you can't ruin his life just cause you don't like the fact he exists.

You have no idea really if the priest already knows or not. He could well have confided in him.

This appears to be a serious safeguarding issue. I would hope that you could contact the minister/vicar and tell him/her of your concerns. If they are off sick at the moment then, if this is a C of E church, contact the diocesan safeguarding people and you can do that in confidence.

hedgehogsdontbite Thu 30-Jul-15 17:12:00

Because you're the one who doesn't like the status quo. The church will not choose one parishoner over another. They will open their doors to both and then it's up to you whether to attend or not.

As for your OH approaching him and telling him to stay away, he'll be getting his collar felt if he goes down that line.

OddBoots Thu 30-Jul-15 17:13:02

Every church will have a child protection officer - this may or may not be the vicar. You would not be doing anything wrong in checking that the child protection officer knows the situation but they won't ask this man to leave - you have to make your own decision about if you want to attend with him there or not.

OhNoNotMyBaby Thu 30-Jul-15 17:14:23

What is puzzling me is that as a person/family of faith who presumably believes in forgiveness for sins and atonement, wants to ban this person from sight and from a supportive community just so that you don't have to think about it?

I'm not disputing the appalling nature of the sin here, but if you count yourself a believer then you need to demonstrate and witness that belief - not shove it onto someone else's plate... Surely that's what religion is all about?

Jo4040 Thu 30-Jul-15 17:17:06

This is what I thought would be said.

I know he has served his time etc..but my OH just can it get past what he has done.

The vicar absloutly does know what this man did as when this man started to attend the church when he had just got out if prison the vicar approached my mother saying how sorry he was and what a awful position he is in because he is aware of what this man did to her grandson.

Jo4040 Thu 30-Jul-15 17:19:47

It's not me who has the problem here...it's my OH who is forbidding me to take my DS and my OH is not claiming to be able to fogive sins

AmazonsForEver Thu 30-Jul-15 17:20:44

You need to find a different church.

SleepIsOverrated Thu 30-Jul-15 17:20:47

You need to speak to the safeguarding officer.

The Church of England has clear directions for safeguarding, which includes ways of ensuring children are safe from parishioners. There should be strict guidelines in place - not "he's repentant and we forgive" but "x will never help with Sunday school or be in a position of authority over children. X will remove himself from any situation where he might find himself alone with a child." Etc.

If the safeguarding officer doesn't take it seriously then look for another church. But there should be a robust risk assessment in place. If the clergy currently leading the church is unaware, they should be made aware.

Fayrazzled Thu 30-Jul-15 17:21:34

I agree Jo4040. The Christian Church is supposed to be all about forgiveness. The parish should not turn this man away. However, I don't think it would be unChristian of you to ensure that the parish safeguarding person knows of his background. Given what you know, you, and the safeguarding person have a duty to ensure the man is never in a situation where he is on his own with children or other vulnerable people.

I think you and your husband are over-reacting. It is entirely possible that there are other paedophiles in the parish (convicted or not)- you just don't know. You should always ensure you know who your children are with (without being over the top and 'paedo-round every corner' about it). It's part of being a responsible parent and taking reasonable precautions.

TeenageMutantNinjaTurtle Thu 30-Jul-15 17:22:03

I am actually not sure what I'd do in your position op. I guess I'd like to think I'd forgive but I'd keep a damn close eye on the children.

In fact I'd probably switch churches or attend a different service. I don't think I'd want my children to have any familiarity with the person in case they were approached outside of the church.

Tough one. But there is no way they are going to tell him he can't come to church and I'd definitely not go down the route of OH speaking to him.

NatGeo Thu 30-Jul-15 17:27:13

How on earth do you and OH know that the church don't know about the vicar's past? hmm? you seem to think you have this great bombshell that you could drop, but they might just look at you perplexed that you don't realise they all know, perhaps they have extended the hand of forgives since he has spent his time.

That said, I wouldn't attend a church where the vicar was a convicted paedophile. Plenty other churches out there.

If this person is a known to the church then there should be some sort of agreement in place about what he can and can't do and part of that agreement is that he will be allowed nowhere near children. If you want to go to this church and you know of his past because of a family member then it is not unreasonable that you speak to the person who is in charge whilst the priest is off sick (might be an area dean if you are C of E) and get assurances about what is in place to make sure that all the children in the church today are protected.

Jo4040 Thu 30-Jul-15 17:32:41

The vicar isn't a convicted pediophile and I know exactly what is going on in that church because my mother attends there every Sunday.

Believe me, if my OH warned him off, this man would stay away. The family members partner who this man groomed has found out he has said that they are both going to go to the church, burst in and dramatically announce what this man is!! It's such a mess, my mother has begged them not to do this, but the family member and his partner are saying he shojkdnt have come back to this area!

I know that the church won't turn him away and I don't expect them to..I dknt know what I wanted peoples solution to be really...

Maybe I could show my OH this post and see if this could change his mind...

TheClacksAreDown Thu 30-Jul-15 17:38:09

Basically you want this man drummed out of the church so you feel comfortable attending. You feel you deserve this because (a) he has paedophilia convictions although you don't know for exactly what and (b) your family has attended the church for many years. Well they're not going to OP. However if you wish to speak to the safeguarding officer and understand what safeguards are in place to protect your children that is another matter.

hedgehogsdontbite Thu 30-Jul-15 17:40:42

In which case they'll both find themselves behind bars. They need to grow the fuck up. If they don't want to be near this bloke, fine, don't go where you know he's going to be. But the vigilante persecution they are planning is wrong. Both morally and criminally. As they clearly don't have a Christian bone in their bodies, why do they care who goes to which church?

BackforGood Thu 30-Jul-15 17:41:26

It's a difficult situation, but I agree with everyone else here - if you want to attend a Church, and don't feel you can cope with being part of the same congregation as a man on the edge of society, who has served his time and who is believed to no longer be a danger, then that is your issue, so you need to find a different Church to worship in.

Jo4040 Thu 30-Jul-15 17:43:06

I know, your right. I think that the solution to this is getting my OH to change his mind and allow our children to attend.

I dont wanthim turfed out, not really because he's very vulnerable now and I know it really will tip him over the edge. He showed my mother the marks on his arms where he has been self harming.

I'm going to show my OH this post

KungFuhrer Thu 30-Jul-15 17:43:36

What's your problem? You will be there with your children at church keeping an eye on things so its not like he is going to be able to do anything with your child.
You don't sound Christian at all.

NatGeo Thu 30-Jul-15 17:51:11

Its not the vicar? so whats all the fuss about? convicted paedophiles have a right to attend church surely. Are you planning on driving all convicts out of church? Jesus came for the sick.

ABTwife Thu 30-Jul-15 17:54:54

I'd be asking your DP exactly what he is struggling with?. Given you know of his past, I can't imagine you would ever allow your children to be unsupervised with this man (and I doubt the church would ever create a scenario where that would happen anyway).

So is it that your DP doesn't want to be (or want his children) in a room with a convicted paedophile?. Or is it that he doesn't think the man should be allowed in church?.

You can move to another church but it's likely there may be convicted or not convicted paedophiles there too. Because paedophiles could be anywhere but you just don't 'know' that they are.

Some clarity from your DP is needed. And I agree that the church won't turn this man away because the basis of Christian or Catholic faith is one of forgiveness, acceptance and the possibility of redemption.

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