What is the church’s unique contribution to supporting vulnerable adults?

As Christians we believe that everyone is created in God’s image and we have, therefore, a duty to value everyone and protect the dignity of all, especially the vulnerable. Jesus set us an example by giving the vulnerable love, respect, time and attention. Vulnerability can create a loss of identity and worth. It is our role to respect the dignity of the individual and play our part in restoring the feeling of self-worth. This perspective helps us to frame our guiding principles:

Guiding Principles:

Respect:

  • Give the same respect as you would to any adult.
  • Respect individual differences
    e.g. preferred form of address, opinions, ability and appearance.
  • Use appropriate language in conversation; show an interest in them by asking about their interests etc.
  • Support them by doing tasks with them not for them.
  • Respect choices made even when they may seem risky. Seek advice from experienced church leaders or your safeguarding officer and intervene only if there is an issue of safety.
  • Allow choices about what the individual wishes to be included in but ensure all public areas of the church premises are accessible to all.
  • Be aware that decision making may be difficult. Even the simplest decisions e.g. choosing what to eat, or wear, where to sit, may be a challenge.
  • Always remember that as with respect, dignity is something we can both give to another and take away from them
  • Consider seriously the effect and impact of words and actions on those around us.
  • Show empathy with the needs of others with whom you are working and be prepared to explain what you expect of them.
  • Avoid interrupting people and speaking across others.
  • Try to acknowledge people, even when they are a bit invisible.

Dignity:

  • Always remember that as with respect, dignity is something we can both give to another and take away from them
  • Consider seriously the effect and impact of words and actions on those around us.
  • Show empathy with the needs of others with whom you are working and be prepared to explain what you expect of them.
  • Avoid interrupting people and speaking across others.
  • Try to acknowledge people, even when they are a bit invisible.