Chatfield United Methodist Church
Safe Sanctuary Policy (January 2009)
As a Christian community, Chatfield United Methodist Church is committed to providing a safe sanctuary and community for children, youth, and adults. The following policy reflects our congregation's commitment to preserving this church as a holy place of safety and protection for all who would enter and as a place in which all people can experience the love of God through relationships with others.
As a volunteer with children and youth, your participation in working toward these goals is asked:
- To be sensitive to signs of abuse and to respond appropriately.
- To teach and lead in ways that help prevent abuse within and outside of church settings.
- To consider ways to support families and individuals who are currently in abusive relationships.
- To understand how to respond to persons who are perpetrating violence and abuse.
- Care in language use, topics of conversation, and appropriate touch, so that the words and actions will not be misconstrued.
In order to provide as secure an environment as possible, and to protect our volunteers, children, and youth from misunderstandings, we expect when possible:
- Classroom doors to be left open or partially open (or windows in the door permit sight into classroom).
- Supervision of young children to and from the restroom (preschool and kindergarten age).
- Young children to remain supervised until parents or other known adult or older sibling picks up the child according to instruction.
In order to equip our volunteers and provide a safe community for our children and youth, we ask each volunteer to:
- Fill out an application
- Authorize possible screening through reference checks and/or criminal background checks.
- Receive training and education on knowledge of abuse and appropriate behaviors when working with children and youth.
- Be a part of the congregational life for at least six months before working with children and youth or have provided and have checked appropriate references from your last ministry experience.
Steps to be taken once abuse is recognized/suspected in a child, youth, or vulnerable adult:
- Talk with the pastor about what you have observed or witnessed.
- Assist in documenting all occurrences or physical evidence that led you to take these steps.
- If you have further concerns, feel free to talk with the pastor again.