When the crowd tried to keep the children away from Jesus, he was quick to respond “Let the children come to me.” Jesus taught that children were to be included and provided for within the community of faith. Today, the church may be the only place where some children find the unconditional love and care they so desperately need to grow and thrive. As Christians, we must take our responsibilities to our children very seriously. We fail in our responsibilities if we neglect to take adequate precautions against abuse in our churches. It is unlikely that we can completely prevent child abuse in every situation, but it is possible for us to greatly reduce the risk by following a thorough practical policy of prevention.
The 1996 General Conference of The United Methodist Church adopted a resolution aimed at reducing the risk of child sexual abuse in the church. This policy has a threefold purpose: First, to protect the children and youth that come to us; second, to protect our Church Staff and Volunteers from potential allegations of abuse; third, to limit the extent of legal liability of our church.
In covenant with all United Methodist congregations, Providence United Methodist Church adopts this Safe Sanctuaries policy for the protection of children and youth and the prevention of abuse in our church. 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 children and youth as well as all of the church workers and volunteers.
We will follow reasonable safety measures in the selection and recruitment of workers and volunteers; we will implement prudent operational procedures in all programs and events; we will educate all of our workers and volunteers with children and youth regarding the use of all appropriate policies and methods. We will establish a clearly defined procedure for reporting a suspected incident of abuse that conforms to State law; we will be prepared to respond to media inquiries if an incident of allegation occurs.
This policy applies to all programs that are considered a ministry of Providence United Methodist Church. In all our ministries with children and youth, this congregation is committed to demonstrating the love of Jesus Christ so that each person will be “…surrounded by steadfast love, established in the faith, and confirmed and strengthened in the way that leads to eternal life.” (Baptismal Covenant II, UMH p. 44)
For more information about our Safe Sanctuaries policy, please contact Angela Reiss, Director of Children’s Ministries.
Procedures for Safe Ministry with Children and Youth
The “Two-Adult Rule”
There will be two adults present at all times during any church-sponsored program, event, or ministry involving children.
Sign In/Sign Out
When Parents bring their children to the nursery, they will be asked to sign their child in and out. The child will be given a numbered sticker with his or her name on it and the parent will be given a lanyard with a matching number. When the child is picked up, the parent must return the lanyard and sign their child out.
Criminal Background Checks
A criminal background check is run on everyone working with children or youth.
First Aid/CPR Training
First Aid and CPR training is provided for everyone working with children or youth.
No Workers under the age of 18
Windows in All Classroom Doors
Each room set aside for children and youth should have a door with a window in it.
At any counseling session with children or youth, the door of the room used should remain open for the entire session. Ideally, the session will be conducted at a time when others are nearby, even if they are not within listening distance.
Advance Notice to Parents
Parents will be given advance notice and full information regarding the event(s) in which their children will be participating.