Youth Ministries

Safe Church Model Policies for social media and digital communications

November 6, 2014
Youth Ministries

The Youth Ministries Office receives inquiries on many different topics.

One of the perennial questions is, “Has there been an update of the Model Policies for Safe Church that includes social networking and digital communications?”

It has been ten years since the General Convention adopted Resolution B008 calling for the “Protection of Children and Youth from Abuse,” and the House of Bishops  issued a Pastoral Letter in support of adopting safeguarding policies and implementing training procedures and criminal sexual background checks for all dioceses and congregations of the Episcopal Church. We have partnered with Church Pension Group in developing policies and training and have spent a decade attempting to change our culture to better insure the safety of our members, especially the youngest and most vulnerable.

The church is still not 100% in compliance with the actions that were called for, but we have come a long way.

Youth Ministry has been significantly impacted for the better, yet we are still playing catch-up with rapidly emerging communication technology that presents all kinds of scenarios that were not anticipated in the original model policies or curricula for training.

I am aware that several provinces and dioceses have taken up this opportunity for adapting to the current context and have developed additional guidelines in the area of cell phone use and social media interactions.

I encourage you to look at the recommendations drawn up by the Province III Youth Ministry network. The Episcopal Diocese of Pennsylvania, where we will be holding the 2014 Episcopal Youth Event, has an excellent set of Safe Church resources and guidelines, too.

Do you have a model policy that is in place that you can share with the wider church so that we might continue this good work, addressing the issues and opportunities of the day?

Please share by posting in the comments below.

Filed under: Safe Church

Canon Myra Garnes

Officer for Youth Ministries

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