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Church apology over abuse vicar

26th Nov 2007 | in Social Care

A Church of England bishop has publicly apologised to a Teesside community where a priest abused children during the 1980s.
Trevor Ward was jailed in 1988 on nine counts of sex abuse, while in charge of Middlesbrough’s St Agnes Church.
Now the Church has made the first public atonement of its kind, in an effort to "heal the hurt" caused.
The Bishop of Whitby, the Rt Rev Robert Ladds, lead the special service at St Agnes’ on Saturday.

A Church of England bishop has publicly apologised to a Teesside community where a priest abused children during the 1980s.
Trevor Ward was jailed in 1988 on nine counts of sex abuse, while in charge of Middlesbrough’s St Agnes Church.
Now the Church has made the first public atonement of its kind, in an effort to "heal the hurt" caused.
The Bishop of Whitby, the Rt Rev Robert Ladds, lead the special service at St Agnes’ on Saturday.
The Church of England said that while it cooperated fully with the criminal investigation into Ward’s activities, it had not properly offered a formal apology for the harm he did.
Ward, who was in charge of St Agnes’ from 1981 until his arrest in November 1987, died last year.
Bishop Ladds said: "Abuse by a priest is a terrible and shocking thing, because a vital part of a priest’s work is to reach out with the love of God to people who need help and support.
"I want to offer a deep apology to the individuals who were so badly hurt and the community whose trust was abused by Trevor Ward, where he did so much harm over six years.
"I hope that many of those whose lives were touched or damaged in any way by these dreadful events will join us to commit ourselves to a future where the Church deserves the trust people want to place in it."
Files examined
During the service the congregation was asked to light candles at the altar as symbols of light and hope.
The current priest in charge, the Reverend Margery Grange, told the gathering: "Let us commit ourselves to actively fighting against the abuse of children, to ridding our society of all that harms, to listening to our children and to supporting with our time and money those in the best position to help."
Churchgoers sang the hymns Make Me A Channel Of Your Peace and Love Divine All Loves Excelling during the hour-long service.
They also listened to a Gospel reading that emphasised "the unique value of children as examples of true humility and faith".
Last month the Church of England said thousands of files would be examined in an independent review checking for past cases of sex abuse involving clergy.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/tees/7099670.stm

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