About this time last year, my husband and I (both clergy) were unpacking boxes in our new home in a new district. We were serving the same church but were excited about different opportunities that might come with the move.
While meeting with my new District Superintendent, I was told about an open position that sounded a lot like what I had been praying for. A month later, I was sitting in a conference room for my interview. As the interview was coming to a close, Pastor Peter Paige asked me if I would mind filling out and signing a couple of forms. One of those forms was consent to a background screening. I was surprised but very pleased.
I was surprised because for so many the idea of asking clergy to complete a background screening may be uncomfortable. We may hesitate and think, “Oh well, that person is clergy. I'm sure the Conference or District completed their background screening.” The reality is each pastor is to be compliant with their current church's Safe Sanctuaries policy including an up-to-date background screening from that local congregation. I was pleased to know that I'd be serving in a local congregation who takes our Safe Sanctuaries policy seriously.
It’s that time of year again when clergy all across our conference will be making those big moves to new congregations. What better time is there for all of us to update our Safe Sanctuaries policies and make certain all our volunteers and staff have updated background screenings, including our clergy.
Rev. Christine Case, Associate Pastor of Family Ministries at Bryan Wesley UMC, Bryan, Ohio
For more information on Safe Sanctuaries, please contact Rebecca Hug, rhug [at] wocumc.org, or check out westohioumc.org/safesanctuaries.