Safe Sanctuaries® is the name commonly given by United Methodist Annual Conferences and local churches to their individual efforts to make conference, district and local church programs welcoming and safe for children, youth and vulnerable adults. Safe Sanctuaries® is more than implementing a policy with guidelines and procedures. Safe Sanctuaries® creates an environment with boundaries of safe space for children, youth, and vulnerable adults, and the adults who work with them.
In 1996, the General Conference of The United Methodist Church adopted a resolution aimed at reducing the risk of abuse in the church. During the 2014 West Ohio Annual Conference, members passed a rule requiring each local congregation to establish a Safe Sanctuaries® policy and to update these annually.
In 2016, The West Ohio Conference Task Force was charged with revising the Safe Sanctuaries Standard of the conference, and in 2019 over 20 trainers were deployed in across the Conference to aid local congregations in developing, revising, and implementing their Safe Sanctuaries policy.
Ann Marie Carley, Safe Sanctuaries Consultant, safesanctuarieswocumc [at] gmail.com
April Casperson, Director of Diversity and Inclusion, acasperson [at] wocumc.org