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Arkansas Conference Safe Sanctuary® Resolution

Safe Sanctuary® Resolution

  • adopted by the 2014 Arkansas Annual Conference

Whereas, Jesus said, “Whoever welcomes [a] child . . . welcomes me”(Matthew 18:5). Children are our present and our future, our hope, our teachers, our inspiration. They are full participants in the life of the church and in the realm of God. God calls us to make our churches safe places, protecting children and other vulnerable persons from abuse. God calls us to create communities of faith where children and adults grow safe and strong. (Adapted from The Book of Resolutions of the United Methodist Church, 2008.)
Therefore, the Arkansas Conference of the United Methodist Church hereby pledges to conduct the ministry of Jesus Christ in ways that promote the physical and emotional safety and spiritual growth of our children, youth and our workers with children and youth. In all of our ministries with children and youth, this congregation is
committed to demonstrating the love of Jesus Christ so that each child and youth 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)

Therefore,

  • we will follow reasonable safety measures when selecting and recruiting workers;
  • we will implement prudent operational procedures in all areas of programming and care;
  • we will train our workers with children and youth on our procedures and policies;
  • and we will have a clearly defined procedure for reporting reasonably suspected incidents of child maltreatment that conforms to the requirements of Arkansas law.

Therefore, recognizing that the programs, needs and resources of local congregations vary significantly and therefore local policies and procedures will and should differ, when local churches are developing Safe Sanctuaries® guidelines, it is recommended that they:

  1. develop and implement an ongoing education plan for the congregation and its leaders on the reality of child abuse, risk factors leading to child abuse, and strategies for prevention;
  2. adopt screening procedures (use of application forms, interviews, reference checks, background clearance, and so forth) for workers (paid and unpaid) directly or indirectly involved in the care of children and youth;
  3. develop and implement safety procedures for church activities such as having two or more non related adults present in classroom or activity; leaving doors open and installing half doors or windows in doors or halls; providing hall monitors; instituting sign-in and sign-out procedures for children ages ten or younger; and so forth;
  4. advise children and young persons of an agency or a person outside as well as within the local church whom they can contact for advice and help if they have suffered abuse;
  5. carry liability insurance that includes sexual abuse coverage;
  6. assist the development of awareness and self-protection skills for children and youth through special curriculum and activities; and
  7. be familiar with annual conference and other church policies regarding clergy sexual misconduct.

 

Permanent link to this article: http://kidz.arumc.org/safe-sanctuaries/2014-arkansas-conference-safe-sanctuary-recommendation/