Bismarck Calvary United Methodist
Friday, November 17, 2017
A United Methodist Congregation

Safe Sanctuary Policy

 
Safe Sanctuary Policies and Procedures
Calvary United Methodist Church, Bismarck, ND
Adopted December 3, 2012
 
INTRODUCTION
Jesus said, "Whoever welcomes [a] child ... welcomes me." (Matthew 18 :5) He also said, "If any of you put a stumbling block before one of these little ones .. .it would be better for you if a great millstone were fastened around your neck and you were drowned in the depth of the sea." (Matthew 18:6)
 
Our Christian faith calls us to offer both hospitality and protection to those who cannot protect themselves. In response to this call and action of the Dakotas Annual Conference, we hereby commit ourselves as a community of faith to this policy of safety for children, youth, and vulnerable adults.
 
PURPOSE
Our congregation's purpose for establishing this Safety Policy and accompanying procedures is to demonstrate our absolute and unwavering commitment to create within our ministries a "safe sanctuary" that will foster healthy growth and development in spiritual and other dimensions as we have opportunity to provide ministry.
 
STATEMENT OF POLICY
Therefore, as a Christian community of faith and a Dakotas United Methodist congregation, we pledge to conduct the ministry of the gospel in ways that assure the safety and spiritual growth of all our children, youth, and vulnerable adults as well as all those who work with them. It is our policy to:
 
  • Follow reasonable safety measures in the selection and recruitment of workers;
  • Implement prudent operational procedures in our programs and events;
  • Conform out facilities to meet reasonable safety standards to reduce risk of harm or injury;
  • Provide for workers adequate training regarding the implementation of our policies, procedures, and preferred methodologies;
  • Provide adequate supervision and support for workers as they are in ministry on our behalf;
  • Educate parents, guardians and others in our congregation as to our policies and procedures;
  • Have in place a clearly defined procedure for reporting instances of injury, harm or abuse that conforms to requirements of state law;
  • Respond with compassion and integrity to needs as they present themselves following incidents of harm, injury, or abuse;
  • Regularly review our policies and procedures to assure that they conform to current legal, health, and safety standards.
 
CONCLUSION
In all of our ministries with children, youth, and vulnerable adults, this congregation is committed to demonstrating the love of Jesus Christ so that each person is "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).
 
Adopted by Calvary United Methodist Church, Bismarck , North Dakota on December 3, 2012.
Procedures for the Implementation of Our Safety Policies as of December 3, 2012
Policies- appear in bold print     
Procedures-describe how policy will be implemented
 
Follow reasonable safety measures in the selection and recruitment of volunteer workers;
  • All persons who work with children, youth, or vulnerable adults shall be in good standing within the community and be committed to the Christian faith.
  • Every person working with children, youth, or vulnerable adults must be a member in good standing with Calvary United Methodist Church for a period of no less than five years, unless they are supervised by a leader, director or pastor of the church.
 
Implement prudent operational procedures in all church programs and events;
  • When possible at least two adults will be present for all activities, programs, and events for children, youth, or vulnerable adults. Leaders should never be alone, one-on-one, with a child, youth, or vulnerable adult in an isolated or closed situation.
  • If there are not two adults per classroom, a monitor will check with leaders and offer assistance as needed during activities, programs and events .
  • Young People ages 12-18 are welcome to serve as assistant leaders under direct adult supervision.
  • Parents and guardians will be informed of details and must give written permission for children and youth to participate in ministry activities that take place away from the church. Leaders will see that parents are informed of any changes made in plans otherwise published.
  • Volunteers providing transportation for programs, activities, or events for children, youth or vulnerable adults will:
a.      Hold a valid drivers license,
b.      Not have more than two moving violations in the past year,
c.      Use a vehicle in good mechanical condition,
d.      Carry no more people than can be secured in seat belts or appropriate restraints.
  • Sick children & youth will be returned to their parents or legal guardian to avoid exposure to others.
  • Only adults can move or set up TV s, projectors or other heavy equipment. Any such movable equipment must be securely attached to its conveyance (eg. TV s belted or bolted to the cart).
  • Children and youth will be under supervision when they are in the church building and on the playground. When official childcare is not provided, parents are expected to provide supervision at all times.
 
Conform our facilities to meet reasonable safety standards to reduce risk of harm or injury;
  • Every classroom and office door will remain open if there is no window providing a view of the interior. Nothing shall cover the door windows unless the room is used as a dressing room.
  • Trustees will regularly check facilities for safety hazards.
  • Toxic materials, including cleaning and other supplies, will be stored out of the reach of children, youth, and vulnerable adults.
  • Electrical outlets in pre-school classrooms will be covered when not in use.
  • Playground areas will be checked regularly for dangers.
 
Provide for workers adequate training regarding the implementation of our policies, procedures, and preferred methodologies;
  • Before taking responsibility for children, youth or vulnerable adults, workers will be provided a copy of the Safe Sanctuary Policies and Procedures.
  • Occasionally there will be opportunities to update and improve knowledge and skills useful in our ministries
 
Provide adequate supervision and support for workers as they are in ministry;
  • Leaders and teachers will work in pairs whenever possible. When this is not possible, a designated person will be responsible for occasionally observing an individual at work, checking with them about needs, offering affirmation and suggestions for improvement.
  • Leaders and teachers will know to whom they can go for assistance whenever it is needed.
  • Leaders and teachers will be recognized and affirmed by the congregation on an annual basis.
 
Educate parents and others in our congregation as to our policies and procedures;
  • All policies and procedures will be accessible to any church member. Copies will be kept in a file in the church's office.
  • Periodically portions of our policies and procedures will be published in our newsletter or distributed in our worship services.
  • As needed, policies and procedures will be reviewed with parents and guardians.
 
Have in place a clearly defined procedure for reporting instances of injury, harm or abuse that conforms to requirements of state law;
  • Any instance of injury, harm, or abuse that occurs in the context of any of our ministries with children, youth, or vulnerable adults will be reported immediately to the pastor or the Staff-Parish Relations committee (SPRC) chair. Any such instances involving clergy will also be reported to the district superintendent. Suspected abuse of any kind is to be reported immediately to the Department of Human Services, as required by state law.
 
Respond with compassion and integrity to needs as they present themselves following incidents of harm, injury, or abuse;
  • When instances of injury, harm, or abuse occur, the pastor, lay leader, SPRC chair and other congregational leaders they deem appropriate for the situation, will take the lead in determining the need for ministry and will coordinate its implementation.
  • The pastor, lay leader or SPRC chair, working in concert, will act as official spokespersons for the congregation with the community and the media.
 
Regularly review our policies and procedures to assure that they conform to current legal, health, and safety standards.
  • Occasionally the church will conduct a "Safety Audit" to assess adherence to the safety policies and procedures.
  • When the need arises, the church will convene a Safety Task Force to bring the policies and procedures up to date. This task force should include representation from the Board of Trustees, the Staff-Parish Relations Committee, the Leadership Development Committee (formerly known as the Nominations Committee), parents and guardians of children and youth, workers with children, youth, and vulnerable adults, and others with knowledge, skills, or expertise that will assist the task force in doing its job effectively.
 
 
Annually the Board of Trustee will assess the church insurance coverage.
 
 
 
 
 
DAKOTAS CONFERENCE ITEM
Background Checks
     Background checks are conducted on all Conference employees and volunteers as a way to reduce risk of abuse.  
      The Dakotas Conference provides centralized background checks for churches within the conference using Trak1 Technology. Advantages for churches to use Trak1 include the following:
1.      The only cost to churches is the actual cost of the background checks they have done. The Dakotas Conference is covering the set-up fee, the monthly fee and the invoice fee.
2.      There is flexibility in how each individual church may set up their account.  They may elect to have volunteers/staff register for the background checks on line themselves or the church may serve as the gate keeper of that process, entering the info for each individual that needs a background check.  The church may also elect to pay for the background checks or have the volunteer/staff member pay for their own.
3.      The names of all individuals checked by the Conference or any local church that has chosen to use Trak1 will be kept in one database by Trak1 so that if a background check has already been done and is recent enough a new check will not have to be done, eliminating duplication of background checks and associated fees.   
      Local churches may register online with Trak1. Please contact the Dakotas Conference Office at begin_of_the_skype_highlighting 605-996-6552 end_of_the_skype_highlighting to obtain the password. Once you set up your own church account you will select your own password for your church account.