The Safe Sanctuaries Program

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The Safe Sanctuaries Policy: Protecting Our Children and Youth

St. Paul’s United Methodist Church and Wesley Foundation welcomes everyone and is committed to helping individuals and families grow in faith. St. Paul’s recognizes that Christian service is a necessary and fulfilling part of each person’s faith journey and offers many different ministry opportunities. Among these are opportunities to serve with the children and youth of St. Paul’s. As much as possible, we want everyone who feels called to be able to serve in ministry with our children and youth.

We also recognize that the church is not immune from the painful reality of child abuse. We understand the devastating damage done to a child’s growth when abused within a church setting. As a church, we must take intentional measures to protect our children.

This policy is designed to provide safety and openness: to provide protection for our children and youth while maintaining an atmosphere that welcomes all seekers. By providing many avenues of service with varying levels of supervisory responsibilities and screening requirements, we are striving to meet the spiritual needs of all congregational members. By developing and implementing safety procedures and precautions, we are trying to ensure that the spiritual growth and development of our children and youth is not disrupted by the preventable evil of child abuse.

This policy will:

  • Establish a procedure for reducing the risk of child abuse which is consistent with scripture, the Social principles of the United Methodist Church and civil law;
  • Establish minimum guidelines for educating our members and staff about child abuse through training;
  • Establish a procedure for reporting and responding to allegations of abuse;
  • Do everything reasonable to assure a caring, loving, open environment where everyone can worship, study, serve, and continue his/her spiritual journey.

This comprehensive plan presents procedures for Screening, Supervision, and Response.

These procedures are the minimum necessary precautions for protecting children. St. Paul’s UMC, St. Paul’s Christian Preschool and Childcare, and the Wesley Foundation will endeavor to monitor updates and recommendations by the General Conference of the United Methodist Church, by the Susquehanna Conference of the United Methodist Church, by the State of Pennsylvania and may modify these procedures.