Safe Sanctuary

Leavenworth Community United Methodist Church

Pacific Northwest Conference

Safe Church Policy

 (March 2012 – Revision 1, January 2013 – Revision 2)

“Whoever welcomes [a] child, welcomes me. If any of you put a stumbling block before one of these little ones … it would be better for you if a- great millstone were fastened around your neck and you were drowned in the depth of the sea.”   Matthew 18:5-6

Leavenworth Community United Methodist Church (LCUMC) is committed to providing a safe and healthy environment in which youth and young children can learn about and joyfully experience God’s love. This is an absolute and unwavering commitment to those who come through our doors.  Our children’s and youth ministries rely heavily on the passion and dedication of volunteers who provide a solid Christian education and spiritual foundation for all of our young disciples.  Our Christian faith calls us to offer both hospitality and protection to children, youth and vulnerable adults. As such, we are a covenant community in which clergy, staff, employees and volunteers, all work together to create and maintain an atmosphere free from all forms of discrimination, bullying, harassment, exploitation and/or intimidation.

 

Statement of Covenant

As a Christian community of faith and a United Methodist congregation, we pledge to conduct the ministry of the gospel in ways that assure the safety and spiritual growth of all of our youth/children, as well as those who work with them. We will follow the reasonable safety measures in the selection and recruitment of workers; we will implement prudent operational procedures in all programs and events; we will educate all of those who work with children, youth, and vulnerable adults regarding the use of all appropriate policies and methods (including first aid and methods of discipline); we will have a clearly defined procedure for reporting a suspected incident of abuse that conforms to the requirements of state law; and we will be prepared to respond to media inquiries if, God forbid, an incident occurs.

 

In adherence with the guidelines set forth by the General Conference of the United Methodist Church, LCUMC has adopted a Safe Church policy for the general safety of children, youth, and other vulnerable persons and for the prevention of abuse in our church.  The implementation of the policy demonstrates the commitment of LCUMC to be a place where people of all ages can come together for worship, study, and service; with the assurance that they are safe and secure in the community of faith.

Our Safe Church policy requires that clergy, staff and all volunteers involved directly or indirectly with children and youth complete an application and authorization for a national background check.  The Pacific Northwest Conference office assists LCUMC in providing these background checks through the use of a secure online system. Background checks are performed every two years and are coordinated through the Church Office.  Records and updates are maintained in the church office.  The appropriate people are notified when updated checks are required.  The Administrative Council of LCUMC shall have the authority to revise and update the Safe Sanctuary policy on an as needed basis.

Conduct of Employees and Volunteers

Volunteering to serve in one of our ministries is truly a gift to our church.  Clergy, staff and volunteers, must be adequately prepared and educated for the ministry in which they serve others and they must understand the impact of misused authority.

 It is the policy of the PNW Conference and LCUMC, to encourage its employees to safely nurture the youth and children in our care by being attentive to education, maintenance of appropriate boundaries, and referral of those in need to supportive and helpful resources.

In order to promote our goal of a safe and caring Christian environment, the following requirements apply:

  • Before beginning their duties, all prospective employees for children’s ministry will undergo a national background check, including but not necessarily limited to inquiries of references and criminal history verification by a third party vendor.
  • Before beginning any duties, all employees and/or volunteers who will be working with children or youth, will be personally interviewed by a Staff Parish Relations Committee member to assess the suitability of their character and qualifications for the desired position.
  •  All adults working with children and youth are expected to present a mature model of Christian behavior for those being supervised. The use of drugs, alcohol, tobacco, ammunition or firearms in or around the church is not permitted. In addition, bad language is strongly discouraged.
  • The ratio of adults to children for supervision will be one adult to four children. It is preferred, but not required that we have both male and female adult supervisors (unrelated) for groups larger than four.