FUMC Plainview

Safe Sanctuary

Safe Santuaries Policy and Procedures Children's & Youth Ministry

Throughout the gospels, Jesus provides teachings on providing a peaceable kingdom for all of God’s people. The peaceable kingdom begins with sanctuary.

Scriptures provide examples of how sanctuary is to be a community of protective nurture and harmony (psalms 20:1-2, 27:4-5). As Followers of Christ, we are called to create a safe sanctuary in our churches. They must be holy, safe, and protective communities for all of God’s children, regardless of age or ability. The purpose of this policy is to address the safety of everyone at FUMC, Plainview.

FUMC recognizes the need to have a formal, written policy with procedures in place (1) to help prevent the opportunity for the occurrence and the appearance of abuse and (2) to help protect workers from false accusations and suspicions.

The following policy and procedures are not based on a lack of trust in hired staff or volunteers, but are intended to protect the entire church body regardless of age. Careful and confidential documentation is essential to show compliance with policies, to verify information as needed, and to have an accurate record in the case of reported abuse.

Conclusion

In all of our ministries with children, youth, and vulnerable adults, this congregation is committed to demonstrating the love of Jesus Christ so each child/youth/vulnerable adult will be

“surrounded by steadfast love…established in the faith, and confirmed and strengthened in the way that leads to life eternal.” (“Baptismal Covenant II,” United Methodist Hymnal, p. 44)

SAFE SANCTUARY PROCEDURES FIRST UNITED METHODIST CHURCH

DEFINITIONS

Adult – An adult is a person of 18 years of age or older. An 18 year old still in high school or a recent high school graduate during the summer following the senior year is a youth for church purposes.

Child – A child is a person of less than 18 years of age or an adult with diminished mental capacity (vulnerable adult) who is appropriately placed in programs for youth or children.

Child Abuse - Any non-accident injury or pattern of injuries to a child inflicted or allowed to be inflicted by a parent, guardian, caretaker, or custodian. Child abuse includes:

  • Physical Abuse – Any non-accidental physical injury or injuries by any person to a child. Examples of physical abuse include, but are not limited to: beating, harmful restraint, use of a weapon or instrument, or actions that result in or could result in serious physical injury.
  • Sexual Abuse – Any sexual behavior imposed on a child by any person. This involves a range of activities, including fondling or other inappropriate physical contact. It also includes exhibitionism, child pornography, and suggestive behaviors or comments. Emotional Abuse – The expressing of attitudes of behaviors by any person toward a child that create serious emotional or psychological damage. Examples include rejecting, isolating, terrorizing, ignoring or corrupting a child on a sustained and repetitive basis.
  • Neglect – Child neglect can be defined as any serious disregard for a child’s supervision, care, or discipline.

Child Care – A room or area where children are kept and supervised by a paid care giver while a parent attends an adult event.

Children’s/Youth Event – A meeting, class, or activity designed specifically for children from birth through the twelfth grade.

  • Designated chaperone - A member of the church whom is trained in hospitality, the rules the sex offender must follow, and procedures for questions and emergencies to act as chaperone to facilitate attendance by the offender.
  • Event – An event is a meeting, class, or other activity that appears on the FUMC Calendar. An event will typically begin at FUMC and end at FUMC, although participants may travel to other locations. Transportation to and from FUMC is the responsibility of parents, unless the church van is being used for event.

Director – a paid staff member responsible for a particular ministry of the church.

Outside Group – any group that does not fall under the responsibility of FUMC, its staff or congregation. Must provide proof of liability insurance.

Responsible Adult – An adult who is responsible for the care of children at a church sponsored event.

Senior Pastor – The Ordained Elder appointed by the Bishop to serve First United Methodist Church as the lead pastor.

Staff Member – A paid, staff member of the church, including the First United Methodist Preschool (Calico Caboose) and Child Development Center.

Unattended Child – A child that is not in the direct line of sight at all times of the parent/guardian or their designated attendee.

Volunteer – An adult who assists in a leadership or support role, including chaperones, in children ministries at First United Methodist Church. And has been approved for service and successfully completed Safe Sanctuary Training.

Youth Volunteer – Youth who assist in children’s activities.

To read more and for appropriate forms, please download the full document here.