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.