This week’s film in our year long campaign to tell our story here in the Diocese of Leeds visits the United Parish of Keighley and looks at how they responded as a church when crisis came to their community.
Last year 12 Keighley men were jailed for more than 140 years between them for the sexual abuse of one child in the town. It blew the lid on child sexual exploitation in the town and led to the formation of United Keighley - an initiative bringing together different organisations and communities committed to working together to make the town safer for children and young people by raising awareness and tackling the sexual exploitation of children in their town.
There was a United Keighley Week of Action which included a distribution of teal-coloured ribbons representing opposition to sexual violence, and, opportunities to sign the United Keighley statement which condemned all acts of criminality against young people, especially sexual abuse. There were presentations at local school assemblies highlighting the threat posed by child sexual exploitation, art installations and awareness raising at Keighley College and in the Airedale Shopping Centre and a sermon in the Shah Jalal Mosque.
The town chaplain, the Revd Dr Jonathan Pritchard, part of this ongoing campaign, said: “I can’t do anything about what’s happening in Nigeria, the Sudan or the Middle East, but I can do something about here in Keighley about that work of reconciliation that Jesus calls us to be engaged in.”