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Task Force presents updated Safe Church Policies

April 18, 2018
Office of Public Affairs

The General Convention Task Force to Update Sexual Misconduct Policies has updated the Safe Church Policies for the Episcopal Church to help and enable clergy, congregations, volunteers, and individuals understand and live into the importance of this training.

Robin Hammeal-Urban of the Diocese of Connecticut, chair of the Task Force, explained that the work of the committee was authorized by General Convention 2015 Resolutions A073 and A074.

 “We have looked at the current Safe Church Policies, and our recommendations reflect updated models, policies, and practices that address updated issues, including bullying, social media, mission trips, overnight events, and LGBTQ experiences,” she noted.

As stated in the document, the Model Policies are “an updated and expanded set of policies, recommended practices and resources designed to foster healthy and sustainable ministry with vulnerable people in The Episcopal Church (TEC). The purpose of these policies is to create safe and welcoming space for the minors, elders, and people with disabilities in and those engaged in ministry with them, in all of the congregations, institutions, organizations, schools and agencies of each diocese.”

“I think it is important to point out that this is a model policy,” Task Force member Cookie Cantwell of East Carolina said. “It is designed so that dioceses and congregations can address their issues and needs in their local context.”

The Rev. Canon Julia McCray-Goldsmith of Oregon noted, “The policies are based on well-founded practices and procedures.”

Theological foundations, behavioral standards, and guidelines for social media and electronic communication are also included.

“These policies reflect best practices for our church and align with best practices in the legal system,” Judith Andrews of Olympia added.

“The Safe Policies were well thought out and reflect the needs on all levels of the church – parishes and congregations, dioceses, provinces and churchwide,” Eric Travis of Michigan said.

Model Safe Church Policies

The 29- page model policy for the protection of children and youth is here.

The 25-page Model Policy for the Protection of Vulnerable Adults is here.

An FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) document, located here, helps to understand the complex issues of Safe Church Policies and addresses fundamental questions such as: What are they? Why are they needed? What’s in them for me? Is there training to support the Model Policies?

Task Force

Members of the Task Force are: Robin Hammeal-Urban of Connecticut, chair; the Rev. Canon Carol Cole Flanagan of Washington, vice-chair; the Rev. Canon Julia McCray-Goldsmith, of Oregon, Secretary; Judith Andrews of Olympia; Cookie Cantwell of East Carolina; and Eric Travis of Michigan.

The members represent different perspectives and experience: clergy and laity; small churches to large ones and cathedrals; geographic diversity; local, diocesan and parish ministry; and consideration of chancellors, youth ministers, trainers and others.

For more information, contact Travis at