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Alongside her twin sister, Ann, Margaret Kennedy has long been an advocate for human rights…

Whether it’s campaigning for disabled people – both Ann and Margaret have a rare neuro degenenerative disease – or for those abused, abandoned or simply ignored, Margaret has long been fighting the good fight.

As many people in Greystones will already know.

Today, some of that work has been recognised with a very prestigious honour, Dr. Margaret Kennedy being one of 32 international figures given the Lambeth Award. The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, announced this year’s recipients for this annual recognition for ‘outstanding contributions to the Church and wider society‘.

Margaret became a doctor in 2009, thanks to her thesis,The Well From Which We Drink Is Poisoned: Clergy Sexual Exploitation Of Adult Women, and received today’s award for ‘rendering outstanding service to victims and survivors of Church-related sexual abuse through founding MACSAS‘. Which stands for Minister And Clergy Sexual Abuse Survivors.

“I’m very delighted to have my work challenging Christian Churches (all denominations) in the UK and Ireland over how they responded to child sexual abuse,” Ms Kennedy told the Guide this evening, “but especially clergy sexual abuse acknowledged and valued by the Church of England.

“This award is a real ‘hearing’ of survivors of clergy sexual abuse voices by the Church of England, whom I merely represented and gave voice to. Their ‘courage to tell’ was phenomenal…”

It’s a mission that Margaret has been dedicated to now for over 20 years. Her own book, Courage To Tell, was launched in 1999 (see above), whilst her founding of MACAS grew out of requests from clergy abuse survivors who had attended Christian Survivors Of Sexual Abuse (CSSA), which Margaret had founded in 1989.

“My work over 20 years was driven by seeing injustice, pain and suffering caused by Christian Church leaders’ responses to survivors,” explains Dr Kennedy, “which I felt was not how Christianity should be lived. I challenged. I spoke out.

“I feel honoured to accept the award, and thank Archbishop Justin Welby for his support of clergy abuse survivors.”

You can find out more about MACSAS right here and the Lambeth Awards right here. Cover pic, with Archbishop Martin; top right, with Archbishop Santamu.