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Safe Church

Safe Church

 

The Episcopal Diocese of Michigan is committed to safeguard all of God’s children. This policy intends to demonstrate that commitment to creating safe environments, especially for children, youth, and vulnerable adults, from sexual, physical and/or personal abuse or exploitation.

click here to register for safe church

Don't know which course is right for you?

Review this chart to find the best course to suit your situation

COVID-19 SAFE CHURCH UPDATE:

  1. Please see EDOMI Social Media Policy to guide our communities regarding Social Media use.
  2. Check out this recent Being Mindful in a Digital World page for leaders of Children and Youth.
  3. This Best Practices document outlines safe approaches for online worship and fellowship gatherings.
  4. This 4-minute video from Lifelong Learning at Virginia Theological Seminary outlines Safe Church and Online Practices (March, 2020) regarding Zoom online use.
  5. Safe Church TRACK 2 and TRACK 3 Course are available in the regular monthly schedule by Zoom only until further notice. (Not sure which class you need? Click here.)

Looking for a curriculum for children, youth or young adults? We recommend These Are Our Bodies by Church Publishing.

FAQs and Helpful Information

Theological Foundation

Living into our Baptismal Covenant, the Episcopal Diocese of Michigan, and its affiliated congregations, and other entities, strive for justice and peace among all people. 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 and adults who minister with children, youth, and vulnerable adults — 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.

Ministry involves a necessary tension between a Gospel-based integrity and a Gospel-based intimacy as modeled by the life of Christ. A rigid adherence to a system of rules leads to an unproductive legalism. Yet, without the framework of the law, the intimate relationships into which Christ calls us are at risk of distortion and harm. All the people of God are called to minister authentically within this tension.

To this end, the diocese, and each individual congregation, institution, organization, school, and/or agency of the diocese is required to conduct a “Safe Church Self-Audit” every year to confirm compliance with diocesan Safe Church policy.

Procedures to confirm compliance by audit will include, but are not limited to, the following:

      • Existence of policy that is consistent with and/or exceeds the requirements of the model policies.
      • Provision of accessible and appropriate training for all those who work with children, youth, and vulnerable adults, in accordance the “Screening and Training Protocols” standard. Such training will include, at a minimum, the topics identified in the model policies.
      • Verification that each congregation and/or Organization within the Diocese of Michigan has adopted a policy that is consistent with and/or exceeds the diocesan policy.
      • Verification that each congregation and/or Organization has a process to ensure members access training and is conducting public record background checks.

Track 1 = Track 1, formerly known as “Universal” Training, is a 90 minute session that fosters a culture of safety and inclusion of all people, and covers a broad overview of issues regarding vulnerability, power, and healthy boundaries. Universal Training is designed to equip all people to live out their Baptismal Covenant. All members of the Episcopal Church shall have access to this training through diocesan resources. This course can be offered free for your congregation (contact Whitaker to schedule) or you can take it online; simply email Vicki Hesse at vhesse@edomi.org for a link.

Track 2 = Track 2, formerly known as “Advanced” Training, is a deep dive into the policy for implementing the Safe Church Policy in your specific ministry role.  We begin the course with Track 1, then move to Track 2 for the second 90 minute segment.  The total Track 2 course will be 3 hours. Track 2 engages specific scenarios you might face in your specific role.

Track 3 = Track 3, formerly known as “Specialized” Training, is a 6 hour session for supervisors of programs. There is no prerequisite for this course; it includes:

    • The prevention, identification, and response to all forms of abuse and neglect.
    • Vulnerability within the pastoral relationship.
    • An introduction to gender non-binary
    • The needs of all LGBTQ+ individuals, including children and youth, and those of aging adults who often struggle to find care or residential facilities adequately equipped to meet their needs
    • The ways children and youth, and vulnerable adults can engage in self-advocacy
    • The needs of differently abled children, youth, and vulnerable adults

Don’t know which course you’re required to take? Watch this short video or review this chart.

To host a Safe Church training at your congregation, please complete the Safe Church Hosting Form and email to vhesse@edomi.org.

For groups of 10 or more people, it is more affordable to host a Safe Church training at your congregation.

The Whitaker Institute offers regularly scheduled Universal and Specialized training throughout the year. Click here or scroll down to register.

Please take note of specific protocol for online-zoom trainings:

  1. For Track 2 and 3 course it is required that all participants have and use video camera. We apologize we cannot accommodate phone call in participants at this time.
  2. It is preferable for participation by computer, not on smart phone or iPad.
  3. If you need to test your connection, or practice zooming, call or email Whitaker at least one day before your class.
  4. Registration closes 48 hours before the class.
  5. Participants will be emailed a link to the Google Drive where the handouts and policy/handbook documents are retained. Participants are expected to download these on their own.
  6. Plan to log-in to zoom 20-30 minutes before class so that we can help you fix any Zoom issues.
  7. Participants can watch this 3-minute video about “how to effectively participate in Zoom meetings” as preparation.
  8. When we begin, participants will need to “sign in” through a Google-sheet provided on screen, to confirm your presence, and verify that we have contact information correct.

2020 TRACK 1 training dates

– To take the free, Safe Church Track One Training Online, please scroll down to the registration form or click here. Your submission will then be processed, and you will receive an email from the Whitaker Institute Online School with instructions for the course. Please allow up to one business day for processing.

TRACK 2 training dates
(DURATION: 9:00AM – 12:00PM)

New dates to be announced soon

TRACK 3 TRAINING DATES
(DURATION: 9:00AM – 4:00PM)

New dates to be announced soon

2021 TRACK 1 Options

To take the free, Safe Church Track One Training Online, please scroll down to the registration form or click here. Your submission will then be processed, and you will receive an email from the Whitaker Institute Online School with instructions for the course. Please allow up to one business day for processing.

2021 TRACK 2 Congregational Hosted trainings
(DURATION: 8:45AM – 12PM)

None at this time

2021 TRACK 3 Congregational Trainings
(Duration: 8:45am – 4pm)

None at this time