About Safe Sanctuaries
Some people brought their children to Jesus, so that he could place his hands on them and pray for them. His disciples told the people to stop bothering him. But Jesus said, “Let the children come to me, and don’t try to stop them! People who are like these children belong to God’s kingdom.”
Jesus placed value on children and the example of faith they provide for the rest of us. As followers of Jesus, we understand that children/youth are inherently valuable members of Christ’s community.
Our individual vulnerability can place us closer to God but it can also put us at risk. Jesus taught that within the community of believers, there must be protection for each of us in our dependence upon God and each other. As followers of Christ, we resolve to protect all individuals in their vulnerability and also learn from each other as we grow in faith.
Our culture appears to be experiencing an increase in abuse and neglect. As much as we do not like to think of this happening in the church, it is clear that our duty AS the church is to protect and guard children and other vulnerable individuals. Tragically, churches have not always been safe places for children. Sexual abuse and exploitation occurs in churches, large and small, urban and rural. The problem cuts across all economic, cultural and racial lines. It is a very real problem. Virtually every congregation has among its members adult survivors of early sexual trauma. Any incident of this type is devastating and tragic.
God calls us to make our churches SAFE places, offering protection to children and vulnerable individuals. God calls us to create communities of faith where children and adults grow safe and strong. Because this is our goal as a church, SPUMC has developed and implemented a SAFE SANCTUARIES program.
Our vision is to join together as a family of Christians at SPUMC for the purpose of providing a nurturing environment that promotes safety and the emotional and spiritual well-being of all of God’s children.
SPUMC is committed to providing a safe and secure environment for all children, youth and volunteers who participate in ministries and activities sponsored by the church. SPUMC is committed to preserving our church as a holy place of safety and protection for all who would enter and as a place in which all people can experience the love of God through relationships with others.
- No adult who has been convicted of child abuse (either sexual abuse and neglect, physical abuse or mental abuse) will be placed as a volunteer to work with children or youth in any church sponsored activity.
- All volunteers must be at least 18 years of age with the exception of the 2nd volunteer who must be at least 14 or 3 years older than the individuals they are working with.
- Anyone who has not been involved with the congregation for at least 6 months will not work alone with any children or youth. They may be utilized as assistants.
- Each volunteer working in a contained environment must have completed and signed a Volunteer Application Form and a completed Background Check at least every FIVE years.
- All volunteers will be required to attend Safe Sanctuaries Training and sign a form stating they have done so every THREE years.
Please note: Your IDENTITY is protected and secured. There is no sharing or release of your personal and private information.
If you have questions, please visit with any member of the Safe Sanctuaries Committee:
- Tara Schnell – Committee chair
- Jen Southworth, Minister of Outreach and Spiritual Formation
- Amanda Hinthorn, LOGOS Director and Director of Christian Education
- Lisa Wink, Director of Small Group Ministries
- Frank Gaylord, Coordinator of Caring Ministries
- Beth Grainger, Janet Slaughter, and Tracy Dom, Nursery Team