1 Corinthians 12:12, 26-27
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. If one part suffers, all the parts suffer with it; if one part gets the glory, all the parts celebrate with it. 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 humans — 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 in 2017, The Task Force to Develop Model Anti-Sexual Harassment Policies & Safe Church Training has been working hard to create new trainings to accompany the model policies.
Please check with your Diocese or Organization to discover how they have adopted and adapted the new model policies.
Safe Church, Safe Communities – New Safe Church Courses Launching
As reported in a News Release July of 2021, the new Safe Church, Safe Communities modules have begun to be added to the new Praesidium Academy. Course content and Model Policy questions should be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org. The current catologue of new course content follows.
Available NOW on Praesidium Academy:
+ Introduction and Theological Background *
+ Organizational Rules & Policies *
+ Inclusion *
+ Healthy Boundaries *
+ Power & Relationships
+ Pastoral Relationships
+ Abuse and Neglect
Available later this summer:
+ Reporting * (a resource)
+ Best Practices for Intentional Communities (a resource guide)
* Courses with an asterisk are considered essential to “Universal Training” as stated in the Model Policies
The Task Force is working on creating train-the-trainer courses. Our hope is that each Diocese or Organization will identify at least two Diocesan Trainers, who will become members of a supportive community of practice and learning, and will be equipped and empowered to lead local training. Please read more here: https://conta.cc/3LNlVFu
Safe Church Manager Monthly Update
by Bronwyn Clark Skov for July 2022
Here is a summary of where we are as we engage the month of July:
- Work on the Anti-harassment training course has been paused pending General Convention Legislation in process, including Resolutions A066 and A067. Watch for updates in August. Dioceses should continue using the Safeguarding Modules on Praesidium Academy for the Prevention of Sexual Harassment in the Workplace for Employees and for Volunteers, as well as any requirements designated by local jurisdictions. Please consult your chancellor.
- The 20-year-old Safeguarding courses for Congregations and Ministries have been decommissioned and removed from Praesidium Academy’s online learning platform. In case you missed the memo, click the link below: https://conta.cc/3LNlVFu
- We are working on adding a mini course about Reporting and Best Practices for Intentional Communites.
- We will be adding one more lesson to the current Inclusion course specific to LGBTQI inclusion.
- Webinars for supporting Diocesan Trainers are being scheduled and materials for instructor-led training are being developed and reviewed.
- We have begun the process of translation to other languages of the dioceses of The Episcopal Church anticipating that General Convention will also fund this essential work. (See Resolution A065) Spanish translation for the newest courses hosted on Praesidium Academy is underway.
For more information, Model Policies, Resources, and FAQ click the tabs below.
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.
Safe Church Resources for Protecting Children, Youth, and Vulnerable Adults
Safe Church Website and Resources from The Church of England
Safeguarding in the Scottish Episcopal Church
Best Practices for a Safe Church Online
Being Mindful in a Digital World
Safe Church and Online Best Spaces: a few guidelines
Safe Church, Safe Communities FAQ
Are the Safe Church Courses being moved to a new platform?
Yes! The Episcopal Church contracts with Praesidium to host our Safe Church, Safe Communities courses/modules as well as provide other courses free of charge to our users. Praesidium moved to Praesidium Academy on July 14, 2021. This new platform will provide for a more user-friendly experience.
What new courses have been created by The Episcopal Church?
Introduction and Theological Background *
Healthy Boundaries *
Power & Relationships *
Abuse and Neglect *
Organizational Rules & Policies *
Where is the chart of who should take which courses?
Recommendations on course selections and screening can be found within the resource tabs at the bottom the Safe Church Safe Communities landing page at episcopalchurch.org/safe-church where you found these FAQs.
How were the new courses created?
The Task Force to Develop Model Sexual Harassment Policies and Safe Church Training worked hard to define what the new courses needed to have to reflect the new model policies. They then asked for different learning platforms to present proposals on how their learning platform and teams could deliver the new courses. After looking at all the presentations, Praesidium was chosen and the task force has worked with them to create each of the modules.
What if I didn’t get an email to set up an account on Praesidium Academy?
If you would like to access Praesidium Academy and are unable to find the invitation email, follow the steps below to reset your password and gain access to your account.
1. Click https://www.praesidiumacademy.com/learn
2. Click on Forgot your password?
3. Enter in the email address associated with your Academy account.
4. Click the blue Reset Password button.
5. Check your email.
6. Click the link inside of your email to set a new password for your Academy account.
Can we still use the old courses on Praesidium Academy?
Yes. The old courses are still there and we encourage you to use those until we have trained the trainers on the new modules.
When can we start using the new courses created by The Episcopal Church?
You can start using them now. In the fall and into 2022 we will offer train-the-trainer events online and in person to help the trainers become familiar with the new materials and understand how the courses can best be used in their settings.
Will there be any train-the-trainer courses offered?
Yes! We hope to start these late fall of 2021 and into 2022. Some will be online, some will be in person.
Can my Diocese upload its own diocesan Safe Church Policy?
Yes, you can email them to email@example.com and they will add them to your account.
Where can I find the Model Policies for The Episcopal Church?
Model Policy for the Protection of Children and Youth: https://extranet.generalconvention.org/staff/files/download/21313
Model Policy for the Protection of Vulnerable Adults: https://extranet.generalconvention.org/staff/files/download/21314
Is my Diocesan Policy updated with the latest Model Policies of The Episcopal Church?
You need to check with your Diocese and see when the policy was last updated. If it did not incorporate the changes from the model policy released in 2017, it should be updated to reflect those.
Do I have to use Praesidium for background checks?
What is an integrated account?
An integrated account combines online training and background checks into one place. If you use Praesdium’s background check services you can use Academy to order, check, and update background checks.
How many administrators do we need?
It depends on the size of the organization. If you are a small church or school you may only need one or two. If you are a multi-level organization, you probably need an admin at each location.
How much does it cost?
Use of Praesidium Academy for online training for dioceses and Episcopal organizations is covered by Church Pension Group. Background check costs vary from state to state and are paid for by the diocese or organization.
If you have questions, please email Safe Church Manager Bronwyn Clark Skov at the link below.
The Following PDF contains recommendations for screening potential employees and volunteers for specific ministry contexts and areas of access, interaction, and responsibility. Please consult your local policy for final authority.
The following is an Excel Spreadsheet template that local dioceses can download and adapt to local policy and practice reguarding Screening and Training requirements: