Safe Church Policy
Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the Kingdom of Heaven belongs.” (Matthew 19:14)
We at Plymouth Congregational United Church of Christ believe that our church should be a safe sanctuary for all those who come in good faith, and is the responsibility of each person within our congregation. Most importantly, it should be a safe sanctuary for the children and youth who are entrusted to us.
The emotional, physical or sexual abuse of a child is a tragedy no matter where it occurs; it is especially so when it takes place in a community of faith. Abuse in a church is the ultimate violation of a sacred trust. We also acknowledge that the abuse of children is a reality, and that no church is immune from that reality.
We want our congregation to be a haven, free of sexual misconduct or harassment. We therefore have adopted this Safe Church Policy to establish and enforce rules and procedures to eliminate, as much as possible, the risk of abuse, sexual misconduct or harassment in our programs and activities for children, youth, and vulnerable adults.
Click Here to access the complete Plymouth Congregational UCC Safe Church Policy (updated 2020)
SAFE CHURCH POLICY OVERVIEW
This policy contains many details about the ways Plymouth UCC will work to keep its children, youth and vulnerable adults safe. A quick summary of the main points follows.
To comply with the Safe Church Policy, Plymouth UCC:
- Requires that classes and classrooms be configured to eliminate the possibility of children being isolated; mandates specific rules for each program or activity for children and youth, inside and outside the church building, to ensure safety.
- Requires that, whenever possible, at least two unrelated adults who are not living in a domestic relationship shall be involved in any youth activity, whether at church or off-site. When two adults cannot be present, random checks by another adult shall occur.
- Provides an annual training for Church School staff and congregational leaders, as well as education about child abuse for the congregation, parents, children, youth volunteers and staff.
- Establishes a Code of Conduct for all volunteers and employees to follow.
- Requires that those who work with children and youth, paid staff or volunteer, be carefully selected and screened, educated about the issue of abuse and trained to recognize signs of abuse. This includes a background check that is re-processed every three years for individuals having sustained contact with Plymouth minors.
- Requires that no person who has been convicted of abuse will be accepted as a volunteer to work with children and youth for any church-sponsored activity.
- Establishes a procedure to ensure that all suspicions or allegations of emotional, physical or sexual abuse of a child, by an adult or another child, be taken seriously and dealt with promptly and appropriately, and that victims and their families be supported and treated with respect and compassion.
- Establishes a policy regarding social media.
- Establishes a sex offender policy.
- Recognizes there may be exceptions or additions to these policies in specific situations.
- Recommends that this overview be clearly posted in all classrooms and in Fellowship Hall.