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Rights, Respect and Community PDF Print E-mail
Written by Peter Johnston   
Thursday, 11 February 2010 23:29

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I'm just back in from our Beer 'n' Bible group at the West End Bar. Among numerous different topics we chatted about tonight, we talked a bit about the Panorama show this week titled "Are you a danger to kids?" that covered the legislation in England that is being introduced for those working with children and adults with learning disabilities - somewhat similar to our Disclosure Scotland programme that seeks to protect both young people and those that work with them.

In the Panorama show what was being flagged up was the use of "soft intelligence" in the decision making process for applicants: rumours and allegations may be used even if these are unfounded. Trying to find the balance of ensuring good checks are available while still encouraging people to get involved and maintaining people's right to privacy has been much discussed within the Church of Scotland and it sounds as though the new system that will be beginning in Scotland may help in getting a better balance to that which has been the case. It is a very difficult situation, but then as a church we have to ensure the very best protection for our young people and those that work with them.

It is another case of trying to get rights and respect balanced between all people within a community. Watching again the superb video of the UN Declaration of Human Rights (above) I was reminded of the difficult balancing act between all these different acts (protecting people from harm vs people's right to privacy, for example). Coincidentally, respecting rights was the topic of a meeting of the Calderside Chaplaincy Team today in the manse (after a lovely lunch at The Parkville - much recommended!). [There's more...]

As frequent readers of this blog will know well, the chaplaincy team has developed two programmes for primary school children for Christmas and Easter, respectively Bubblegum 'n' Fluff and The Easter Code, of which you can find out more here. We are now in our second year of running these two programmes, but not content to rest on this and seeking to continue to develop what we are doing, we have over the last year had an eye to the future and creating an event with S1 pupils at Calderside Academy using the UNICEF Rights Respecting School Award as our launch point.

We had our first meeting today with one of the heads at the Academy to start that ball rolling. The Academy is already developing a programme for this Spring for S2 pupils, and we talked about options for the chaplaincy team to create something for S1 pupils in September.

It looks very exciting, and in our meeting we already started mapping out themes based around living in community, which is surely the basis for all language about individual rights and mutual respect of others and the responsibilities that come along with these. All good Kingdom goals.

I'm looking forward again to working together with my colleagues and friends in the chaplaincy team to see what we can create over the next months - something that I pray will be a blessing to the young people who will have just started at Calderside and will still be finding their feet in a new community within the school.

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