Rt Rev. Dr Alastair Redfern, retired bishop of Derby and chair of The Clewer Initiative, met with WCC general secretary Rev. Prof. Dr Jerry Pillay to take stock of achievements in the WCC-Clewer Initiative collaboration. Together they pinpointed priorities and opportunities for collaboration in 2023 and beyond, both in specific countries and globally.
Staff from The Clewer Initiative also met with WCC staff to explore linkages with programmes that cover specific aspects of modern slavery. Caroline Virgo, director of The Clewer Initiative, and Bill Crooks, resource producer, presented the newest Lenten resource from The Clewer Initiative, “Journeys.” Based on the stations of the cross, and through five mini films and an accompanying devotional resource, it encourages churches and individuals to move from the sidelines to action.
Virgo also shared the history of The Clewer Initiative, and how its current staff seek to honor the vision of its founders, the Clewer sisters, more formally known as the Order of St John the Baptist. The Anglican nuns set out to eradicated human trafficking. “That’s a big aspiration and we’re working to live up to it,” said Virgo.
Crooks showed a trailer from “Journeys,” explaining that, even after people are rescued from human trafficking situations, they may have a long road to recovery. “It’s still not an easy journey,” he said.
The meeting marked the first in-person meeting in three years between the WCC and The Clewer Initiative. The Clewer Initiative works on the premise that the tools to end modern slavery already exist within local community, and that the church, which is present in all communities and at the heart of many, has a primary responsibility in leading these efforts.
The Church of England, through The Clewer Initiative, is also collaborating with the WCC on an international piece of work particularly targeted at children who are at risk of experiencing modern slavery. This work is developed with national councils of churches in pilot countries—including Ghana, Tanzania, and Italy—and rooted in The Clewer Initiative’s methodology.