WHY DOES THE CONFERENCE AND EVERY CHURCH NEED A SAFE CHURCH POLICY and SAFE CHURCH PRACTICES?
True story: A pastor in another Conference told me about a very hazardous moment they had survived only by grace. They had hired a charismatic and gifted music director who was liked by all. But one day the director came into the pastor's office to resign saying this: "I have to leave because I thought I was better after treatment for having a problem working with young girls but working with the teenage girls in choir has made it clear to me that I still have a problem and must leave before I do something we'll all be sorry for..." Whew. Too many times that story with different details has had a very different and sadder ending for girls, boys, women and men in the church. Not all misbehavior can be prevented but there is much the church can do to protect the people of the church, particularly the children and youth. One important thing this Conference has done and every local church can and should do is establish a "Safe Church Policy" and implement it faithfully. Doing so involves some effort and consistent practices but the value of protecting our children, youth and other members is immeasurable. Of course the 'policy' of itself cannot make folks safe---what it does above all is help to create a climate of care and a community attentive to appropriate behaviors. And yes, there is an element of protecting the church from liability but that is secondary to creating a church that is a safe place for everyone. On this website is the Conference's policy which can be a sample for use by your congregation but keep in mind that each church setting needs to develop a policy and practices that fit its own identity and that fit the level of commitment the congregation is willing to make. Other links will help you get additional information and resources. Thank you for your interest in making your church safe for all.
Jane Fisler Hoffman, Interim Conference Minister
Conference Safe Church Policy [Adobe Acrobat PDF]
National Safe Church Page
Additional Resources Can be found at our UCCIB Representative's website