WATCH up North has looked long and hard for a wider issue to support and run alongside the campaign to open up the episcopate to women, just as WATCH is doing at the national level.
In 2012, in response to revelations about the heinous crimes of sexual abuse against children a body of material was put together in conjunction with WATCH Membership and the Social Responsibility Network. Vigils were held on Holy Innocents Day, 28 December. The church’s message of support for the survivors of abuse being made explicit through holding the vigils on that particular day in the church calendar.
The vigils were held again in 2013 and there are plans to repeat them each year, most notably in Chelmsford Diocese. The body of material is available. Click the link to access material, or it can be accessed from www.srnet.org.uk by going to the resources tab then liturgy and prayers and then Holy Innocents.
I commend to WATCH members the material and the holding of vigils with this intention.
Alongside this is the suggestion that as individuals or at a small gathering in the home a used candle might be taken and re- lit. There will surely be plenty of used candles around after Christmas. As we know much abuse takes place in the privacy of the home. As this act of devotion is carried out and the candle is relit in support of those who have suffered sexual abuse as children the reflection may well be that once re-lit a used candle burns just as brightly as a new one.
I commend to you both holding a vigil and the supportive material and ask that you might consider what could possibly prevent you from carrying out the simple yet powerfully symbolic act of devotion on Holy Innocent’s Day.
Rebecca M. Hodel-Jones