Safe Sanctuaries is the name commonly given by United Methodist Annual Conferences and local churches to their individual efforts to make conference, district, and local church programs welcoming and safe for children, youth, and vulnerable adults.
Child abuse is a well documented fact in our society. Hardly a week goes by that each of us does not read or hear a horror story of how a young person or vulnerable adult has been violated by some trusted person in authority. Most of this abuse happens outside the church setting, but some of it does occur while persons are engaged in ministries of the church.
We at St. Paul United Methodist Church believe that we must make every reasonable effort to protect the children, youth, and vulnerable adults who are in our care so that nothing damages their life, faith, or well-being. This is part of what it means to “so order our lives after the example of Christ that, surrounded by steadfast love, [each person] may be established in the faith, and confirmed and strengthened in the way that leads to life eternal” (UMC, Baptismal Covenant III).
While St. Paul United Methodist Church cannot guarantee the safety of every person, we can be responsible for reducing and eliminating circumstances that can lead to harm or injury. Developing and implementing a Safe Sanctuaries policy is a first-step in protecting our young and most vulnerable.
Our Safe Sanctuaries Policy is a first step toward better protecting our church’s most valuable asset, our children and youth.