Over the past several months we’ve had countless questions from local churches regarding Safe Sanctuaries policies. We love questions! Questions mean people are talking about their policies. As churches prepare for charge conference season, it is vitally important to review policies around Safe Sanctuaries.
Jesus cared about the vulnerable among us. Scriptures are filled with stories of how Jesus cared for children, elderly, those in poverty, immigrants, people in prison, widows, orphans, and people with physical and mental illness. However, none of these stories end with just showing compassion – there is always a call for us to do the same. Regardless of size, every local church should have policies in place that keep the vulnerable safe.
The intent of any Safe Sanctuaries policy should be to:
- Prevent abuse from happening in our churches
- Create space where children, youth, and vulnerable adults can feel safe in disclosing abuse
- Protect the volunteers and employees who minister to vulnerable populations.
Reviewing Safe Sanctuaries policies may seem like a small detail; however, not attending to it leaves everyone more vulnerable and the local church liable.
There are several resources to help local churches develop or review Safe Sanctuaries policies on the West Ohio website. All month long our Safe Sanctuaries trainers will be sharing some of the best practices in developing policies for local contexts. Between now and then, if you need additional support or have other questions, contact us by emailing SafeSanctuaries [at] wocumc.org.