Safe Church

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 safechurch@episcopalchurch.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

+ Bullying

Dioceses have access to Praesidium Academy courses beyond The Episcopal Church’s Safe Church, Safe Communities curriculum that can prove valuable for specialized ministry contexts. We recommend Duty to Report: Mandated Reporter to be included as a Universal Training course. Keeping your Overnight Camp Safe and Keeping Your Day Camp Safe are also excellent for camp and Vacation Bible School programs.

* Courses with an asterisk are considered essential to “Universal Training” as stated in the Model Policies

Training

Train-the-trainer courses are launching January 26 in an online format. Registration is required as well as completing course preparation. Our plan is for each Diocese or Organization to identify at least two Diocesan Trainers to become members of a supportive community of practice and learning, equipped and empowered to lead local training. Please read more here about online training sessions: https://conta.cc/3ZyCYmI

Safe Church Safe Communities Updates

To receive regular updates from the Safe Church Office, please use THIS LINK. You can complete this form to receive email from safechurch@episcopalchurch.org via Constant Contact. You can also update/designate Diocesan Trainers and Administrators on the form.

Safe Church Manager Update

by Bronwyn Clark Skov for Ordinary Time 2023

Here is a summary of where we are as we conclude the program year in June:

  • The Ordinary Time Update sent June 14 via Constant Contact to those on the Safe Church general distribution list is here:https://conta.cc/3nYL2yY This update includes information about training trainers.
  • The following was recently reported to Executive Council and the Chancellors‘ network meeting. In brief:
    • The Safe Church Office currently employs one 1/2 time DFMS employee and utilizes the skill and expertise of three training consultants and one meeting coordinating consultant.
    • To date 49 dioceses have empowered 56 humans to participate in our Zoom Train-the-Traners sessions – one more session is scheduled June 22 before summer hiatus. Taiwan is on-boarding for EYE.
    • Participation in Praesidium Academy online training is global and growing
  • Spanish translation of all eight new courses is complete and Praesidium is in production with Spanish voice-over being recorded now. We hope to launch all eight courses in Spanish soon. Two courses, Organizational Rules & Policies, and Abuse & Neglect, are currently accessible in draft form on the learner dashboard at Praesidium Academy.
  • The Safe Church Council of Advice met June 15 and discussed the following:
    • Review of Spring Zoom Train-the-Trainer sessions
    • Episcopal Youth Event update – many dioceses have engaged fully with training in preparation for EYE in July
    • Episcopal Camps and Conference Centers (ECCC) is willing to join us in the fall to work on policy, protocol, and training with plans to create suporting materials specific to camp and conference contexts
    • We committed to doing some intentional review of all the feedback we are receiving on the Inclusion course at our September meeting
    • Continue creation of supporting documents to be shared as templates for diocesan use

For more information, Model Policies, Resources, and FAQ click the tabs below.

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.

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 *

Inclusion *

Healthy Boundaries *

Power & Relationships *

Pastoral Relationships*

Abuse and Neglect *

Bullying *

Anti-harassment

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 academy@praesidiuminc.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?
No. 

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 from the General Convention Taskforce to Update Safe Church Training. Please consult your local policies for final authority.

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:

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Contact:
Bronwyn Clark Skov

Manager for Safe Church and Special Projects

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