Barnardo would train his staff up with the long-term goal of them carrying on his vision in the spirit of its Founder and on the Godly principles he had laid down. Williams telling us “Dr Barnardo always regarded his work on behalf of destitute children as a missionary enterprise and its spiritual character as fundamental.”
Barnardo was acutely aware of employing the right staff, “I think that the most important part of my life’s work has not been so much even the children to whom I have been of help, but the numbers of workers who have been gradually trained to fill positions of responsibility, and to act with judgement and discretion.”
Williams wrote in his Biography of the Doctor, “That Dr Barnardo should put his work with his staff before his work for the children may, at first sight, seem a surprising statement, until one realises that he had in view not merely the continuity of the work, but its continuance in the spirit of its Founder, and on the lines he had laid down.”
Williams writes about the fastidious auditioning of workers, “In selecting his staff, especially those who were to have the care of his children, he sought earnestly to secure the services of men and women possessed not only of the necessary ability, and a sympathetic nature but able to produce reliable evidence of Christian character.”
Williams describes that after much prayer Barnardo was led to concentrate on the words of Psalm 32:8 “I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way thou shalt go: I will guide thee with Mine eye.”
Forward to today and Barnardos has long gotten rid of all the children’s homes that made the charity world famous, In fact, it is unrecognisable from the strict Christian vision that Barnardo himself strived to lay down. The present-day Chief Executive is a Muslim! This would have horrified Barnardo. Javed Khan is not only far from the Christian prerequisite that Barnardo would employ but he is also not traditional in his Muslim views – advocating same-sex adoption for example. A simple internet search of his name uncovers much more controversy than I have room for here.
Further back in 2004 at Belfast Crown Court, Mr Justice Weir criticised Barnardo’s management for allowing unqualified people to care for children after Margaret Hewitt and Robert Anderson were found guilty of forcing a brother and sister to have sex and 70 other horrific assaults on eight children. The Judge accused Barnardos charity of “incompetence and neglect”.
Let this be a warning to other Christian Charities that are recruiting or thinking of discarding their Christian foundations!
I’ll close with timely words from Barnardo himself, “My heart is too heavy for words”.
I am very grateful for the many encouraging messages of support such as the one below –