Statement following the closure of Jesus Fellowship

29 May 2019, Matt Cooper, Thirtyone:eight

On Sunday 26 May 2019, the Jesus Fellowship Church (JFC) announced that its members had voted to revoke the Church’s constitution. This means the national Church, formerly known as the Jesus Army, will cease to exist and the current National Leadership Team will be stepping down from their roles once the winding up of the central Church has been completed.

Thirtyone:eight has been working with Jesus Fellowship for some time following a series of non-recent cases of sexual abuse.  In August 2015, thirtyone:eight were engaged by Jesus Fellowship to undertake a full safeguarding audit of all the organisations safeguarding practices, following Operation Lifeboat, the police investigation into the allegations of abuse.

As part of that work we completed a comprehensive audit with the aim of exploring all safeguarding procedures and practice, in accordance with our 10 best practice standards. Outcomes from the audit included a full written report, conclusions and recommendations, in order to improve existing safeguarding practice.

In December 2015, these recommendations were endorsed, shaped and adopted by the multi-agency safeguarding Silver Group, established, following the police investigations undertaken under Operation Lifeboat.

Following the audit, Jesus Fellowship invested in establishing an appropriately resourced safeguarding team to help implement these recommendations. A service agreement between Jesus Fellowship and thirtyone:eight was put in place to provide support and accountability, and to ensure the recommendations were fully embedded into their operations.  This remains in place.

Justin Humphreys, Chief Executive of thirtyone:eight said "With news of the closure of Jesus Fellowship, it's important that the offences committed continue to be acknowledged and that survivors are properly supported in their attempts to seek justice.  Therefore, we remain committed to offering our support to Jesus Fellowship so that they may continue to implement robust safeguarding measures as they transition to independent congregations, and that all the valuable learning gained from this process may be retained and built upon so that the individual churches may create safer places for all."

Anyone wishing to discuss any safeguarding issues or concerns, whether non-recent or current, can still contact the Jesus Fellowship Safeguarding team on safeguarding@jesus.org.uk

Alternatively our independent safeguarding helpline is available on 0303 003 11 11.

All press enquiries for thirtyone:eight should be directed to matt.cooper@thirtyoneeight.org

 

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