Safe Church

1 Corinthians 12:12, 26-27
12 Christ is just like the human body—a body is a unit and has many parts; and all the parts of the body are one body, even though there are many.  26 If one part suffers, all the parts suffer with it; if one part gets the glory, all the parts celebrate with it. 27 You are the body of Christ and parts of each other. (Common English Bible)

Each of us has a unique part to play in the life of the church and in the life of our communities. We are all part of the body as a whole and we are all important to the work of the church. Each of us has gifts to bring and share. 

In baptism, God, speaking through the Church, claims us in Christ. We become, in Christ, the community of God’s final purpose: justice and peace, love and plenty for the whole creation. This new community lives in Eucharistic fellowship with God and Creation, as a sign and instrument of God’s reconciling purpose in the world. 

The Church is called to embody and advance God’s mission. Ministry is the vocation of the whole community: laypersons, deacons, priests, and bishops who together represent Christ and the Church in the world. 

The obligation to seek and serve Christ in all persons and to respect the dignity of every human being is binding for all the baptized. The authority with which leaders — ordained persons, adults who minister with minors (children and youth), youth in leadership roles, and adults who minister with vulnerable — are entrusted, creates an inherent power imbalance in the pastoral relationship. This power imbalance derives from the leadership role and, in the case of clergy, the symbolic authority of an ordained person. Christian leadership is intended to provide occasions for guidance and grace, and its abuse is always and unequivocally wrong.

In response to the Safe Church Model Policies that were adopted at the 2018 General Convention, The Task Force to Develop Model Anti-Sexual Harassment Policies & Safe Church Training has been working hard to create new trainings to accompany those videos. We are still hard at work on these and hope they will be released late summer!

For an update and for a bit more, check out the News Release from May of 2021.

You need to also check with your Diocese or Organization to discover how they have adopted and adapted the new model policies. 

Model Policies

In the Model Policies, you will find that each diocese shall adopt a Policy for the Protection of Children and Youth and a Policy for the Protection of Vulnerable Adults that is consistent with and/or exceeds the requirements in this model policy. 

Dioceses may adopt site-specific variations from this model policy, where permitted by their governing body, which shall be described in detail, including the circumstances under which those variations are to be permitted and their rationale. This approval shall be recorded in the minutes of the governing body. 

The bishop or ecclesiastical authority for each diocese shall inform congregations and other organizations within the diocese of the contents of the diocesan policy, the requirement that each congregation or organization adopt a policy in accordance with the diocesan policy, and the vendor(s) approved by each diocese to conduct Public Records Checks. 

Each diocese is required to conduct a Safe Church Self-Audit every three years to confirm compliance with diocesan safe church policies.

The Rev. Shannon Kelly

Director of Faith Formation and
Officer for Young Adult and Campus Ministries