Safe Sanctuary Policy
Lanesboro Community United Methodist Church
“May the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ be blessed! He is the compassionate Father and God of all comfort. He’s the one who comforts us in all our trouble so that we can comfort other people who are in every kind of trouble. We offer the same comfort that we ourselves received from God.” (2 Corinthians 1:3–4 CEB)
God first loves us and God’s love spreads through us to all that he has created, giving us certain responsibilities about how we care for one another and all God’s creation. One responsibility that we share is to make certain that a safe environment is made available to all with whom we come in contact by way of our ministries such as After School Special Kids, youth group, Bible studies, prayer groups and worship. Therefore, as disciples of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, we recognize that we are called to offer a safe sanctuary to all children, youth, and vulnerable adults by those who volunteer or are employed to carry out the ministries of Lanesboro Community United Methodist Church.
So, in conjunction with the Iowa Annual Conference, we at Lanesboro Community United Methodist Church have seen the importance of establishing policies and procedures that will protect and prevent abuse of our vulnerable attendees, offer a place where they can feel safe to disclose abuses, and allow our volunteers and employees to connect with and minister to those who come.
In building a safe sanctuary policy, certain requirements should be made for:
1. Screening of volunteers and employees
2. Proper supervision of activities
3. Reporting and response to abuse
4. Protection of those involved
Staff and Volunteer Selection Policies
All volunteer and paid staff who work with children and youth at Lanesboro will be:
- 21 years old; This does not apply to youth helping with events as long as there are adults supervising.
- At least 5 years older than the oldest child/youth they will be supervising. This does not apply to youth helping with events as long as there are adults supervising who meet this criteria.
All volunteer and paid staff who work with children and youth at LANESBORO COMMUNITY UMC will:
· Complete and sign an application and the related waivers giving permission to check references and background information.
· Provide the names and contact information of 3 personal references.
· Undergo a criminal background check at no expense if they will have supervisory program responsibility for children/youth. Individuals who have been convicted of physical or sexual abuse or neglect may not work in any church-sponsored activity or program for preschoolers, children, youth or vulnerable adults.
Staff Supervision Guidelines
Whenever supervising activities involving children and youth at Lanesboro Community UMC,
· Two non-related adults will be present in the building or at the event at all times.
· Children and youth will be checked in to and out of a church sponsored activity by their parent or legal guardian or people authorized by parent/legal guardian. NOTE: parents do not need to check in students who are dropped off by the school bus.
· Leaders will have access to a telephone, cell phone, or pager when groups are at or away from the church facility
· One-on-one interactions with children and youth will be with an open door and visible to all.
Whenever Lanesboro Community UMC sponsors an activity involving children or youth,
· Anyone has the right to visit and observe the children’s/youth activity, classroom, or church-sponsored program at any time, unannounced. [exception: known sex offenders, no contact orders, etc.]
· All classroom and office doors will have a window or visibility from hallway or remain open while occupied with children, youth, or vulnerable adults.
· Windows will be kept free from adornment that blocks the ability to see into the room.
Whenever Lanesboro Community UMC transports children or youth away from the church campus,
· Adults should never transport child/youth by self unless parent has listed them as authorized to do so. When transporting children and youth to events they will make every effort to have two adults in the vehicle OR caravan together.
· Approved and covered by church’s insurance company
· Drivers should go through same screening process as all other paid/volunteer staff
Whenever Lanesboro Community UMC hosts an activity involving children or youth from another church or community organization, the groups using the church facility will follow Lanesboro Community UMC’s Safe Sanctuaries policies and procedures
One on one text messages or the like between an adult and a minor are not permitted. Whenever an adult volunteer or staff person contacts a minor (or responds to messages from minors), they must include another adult in these messages. This includes texting, Facebook messages, emails, etc.
While staff and volunteers may accept “friend requests” from youth on social media sites (Facebook, Instagram, etc.), they may not initiate friend requests to children or youth. Furthermore, if staff or volunteers do accept friend requests, they must make sure that the content of their “page” that is visible to children and youth who have friended them is age appropriate and does not use abusive language or sexual content.
Lanesboro Community UMC volunteer and paid staff will be given the opportunity to attend training about Safe Sanctuaries policies, procedures and child abuse issues on a regular basis.
If a suspected incident of child abuse or neglect occurs or is revealed to a volunteer/paid staff person at a Lanesboro Community UMC sponsored activity, the adult in charge of the activity will
· Ensure the safety of the child or youth (including separating the child and the volunteer/staff person in question) AND
· Call the church pastor (319-330-2220 for Pastor Lorinda) or designee AND
· Call the DHS (Child abuse hotline is 1-800-362-2178)
In all of our ministries with children, youth, and vulnerable adults, this congregation is committed to demonstrating the love of Jesus Christ so that each child, youth and vulnerable adult will be “surrounded by steadfast love…established in the faith and confirmed and strengthened in the way that leads to life eternal.” (Baptismal Covenant II, United Methodist Book of Worship, p.96).