Safe Sanctuary Policy
Safe Sanctuaries Policy for Clergy, Staff, and Laity
The congregation of Baldwinsville First United Methodist Church is committed to providing a safe and secure environment for all children and youth, disabled, and vulnerable adults who participate in ministries and activities sponsored by the church. The following policy statements reflect 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.
- Adult staff, volunteers, and clergy shall observe the “Two-Adult Rule” at all times. The “Two-Adult Rule” requires that no adult is ever alone with children, youth, disabled, or vulnerable adults at a church/charge, district, or conference-sponsored event or activity. A vulnerable adult is defined as any person 18 years of age or older with diminished physical, mental, or emotional capacities. The “Two-Adult Rule” requires that regardless of the size of the group, there shall always be two unrelated adults present. The second adult in the “Two-Adult Rule” may include the periodic presence of an adult “roamer” who moves in and out of rooms or ministry activities. No child, youth, disabled, or vulnerable adult shall be left unsupervised while attending a ministry program or event.
- Adult staff and volunteers must be a minimum of 18 years of age. Adult staff and volunteers must also be at least five years older than the oldest minor present that they are leading, ministering to, or supervising. Youth (ages 13-17) are invited to assist adult volunteers but are not to be considered an adult for the “Two-Adult Rule”.
- Adult volunteers involved with children, youth, disabled, or vulnerable adults of our church must have been an active participant in the congregation for at least six months before beginning a volunteer assignment.
- Adult staff, volunteers, and clergy shall be observant for unusual behaviors and signs of child, youth, disabled, or vulnerable adult abuse. Such behavior shall be reported immediately to the appropriate supervisor.
- Adult staff, volunteers, church leaders, and clergy working with children, youth, disabled, or vulnerable adults shall receive a copy of the Baldwinsville First United Methodist Church Safe Sanctuaries Policy before starting their service. They shall complete and sign a Participation Covenant Statement stating that they agree to cooperate with these abuse prevention strategies.
- All adult volunteers, church leaders, and staff who work with children, youth, disabled, or vulnerable adults will agree to participate in Safe Sanctuary Training and in a Criminal Background Check administered by the Upper New York Conference of The United Methodist Church. The Background Check will be repeated every four years.
- It is the expectation of the Baldwinsville First United Methodist Church that all leaders, employees, and volunteers of outside organizations using the church facility who are working with children, youth, disabled, or vulnerable adults will have passed the Criminal Background Check offered through the church or one required by their parent organization.
- During 9:00 AM worship services, one adult female and an unrelated adult male who have completed Safe Sanctuary Training will be Roamers whose responsibilities will be to assist the assurance of safety of parishioners, building, and supplies.
- All ministry activities shall occur in open view. This requirement is met by having a viewing window, a glass door panel, a half door configuration, or an open door where ministry activities occur.
- Written attendance records shall be kept for all ministry events/activities involving children and youth. These records shall include at a minimum, the date and names of all participants and shall be kept until Jesus returns (perpetuity.)
- .Facilities shall be free from conditions that pose a safety or health hazard to the participants.
TRANSPORTING CHILDREN, YOUTH, DISABLED, OR VULNERABLE ADULTS
- Ministry activities involving transportation of children, youth, or disabled persons shall require a written permission slip/form signed by the applicable parent or guardian.
- Automobile drivers of children, youth, disabled, or vulnerable adults shall be a minimum age of 21 years.
- The ministry supervisor of automobile drivers of children, youth, and disabled shall be required to keep a copy of drivers’ current licenses and proof of insurance cards on file with the appropriate ministry program (i.e., church/charge, district, conference ministry.) These drivers will also be required to pass a DMV Background Check.
- The church is willing to do Criminal and DMV Background Checks for adult congregants who transport other adults to church sponsored functions, if they would like that protection.
A COMMUNITY OF RESPECT AFFIRMATION
Realizing that a safe and civil environment is needed for parishioners to learn and grow in faith and to promote healthy human relationships, the Baldwinsville First United Methodist Church will actively endorse the following:
- “We affirm all persons as being equally valuable in the sight of God.” Church leaders, clergy, staff, and laity “shall respect the rights, dignity, and worth of each member of the church and of the larger community.” They will respect each individual without regard to economic status, lifestyle, gender, race, or degree of participation in parish life. They will “refrain from physically, sexually, verbally, or emotionally abusing or neglecting a minor or an adult.
- We will strive to be “sensitive to cultural differences and celebrate the opportunities that diversity brings.”
- We will be sensitive to, respectful of, and mindful of a person’s life experiences, age, gender, race, religion, sexual orientation, disabilities, or language that “may affect how the message of the Gospel is received and interpreted.”
REGISTRY OF SEX OFFENDERS
Appointed clergy shall regularly review and be familiar with local public sex offenders who are listed in registries maintained by New York State law enforcement agencies.This is done by accessing:http://criminaljustice.state.ny.us/SomsSUBDirectory/search_index.jsp
This Baldwinsville First United Methodist Church Safe Sanctuary Policy was updated and proposed by the Safe Sanctuary Team: Rev. Patricia Walz, Janet Brooks, Julie Dillon, Joyce Berube, Craig Barrett, Kevin McAllister, Jessie Olin, Jeanne Pray, Linda Horan
Approved by Administrative Council: April 19, 2015