The General Conference mandate of 1996 requires all United Methodist Churches to implement policies and procedures to make sure no harm comes to those under the age of 18 or adults who cannot care for themselves while they are in our care and ministry.
We promise at every baptism:
With God’s help we will so order our lives after the example of Christ, that this child, surrounded by steadfast love, may be established in the faith, and confirmed and strengthened in the way that leads to life eternal.
United Methodist Hymnal, p.44
What should churches do to keep participants safe from abuse and workers safe from false allegations of abuse?
Safe Sanctuaries, written by Rev. Joy Thornburg Melton, can guide you through the process. Each church should recruit a team of church leaders, including Nursery, Children’s and Youth staff, age level coordinators, chairpersons from Trustees and Finance committees, educators, attorneys and police persons to write policy and procedures for each church’s governing body to adopt. If a church is not actively engaged in enforcement of their policies and procedures, they run the risk of being found negligent.
As a Christian community of faith and a United Methodist congregation, you should:
Every local church should know: