Safe Church Training

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Update – June 6, 2018:

These Model Policies are currently being reviewed by our Diocesan Council. In the review, we are identifying the differences between our current policy and this one. Once the changes are identified, discussed and clarified as needed, the Council will adopt the policies for the Diocese. They will then be sent out the to congregations for their review, adoption and implementation. That should happen around the end of March. The adopted policies shouldn’t differ too much from the Model Policies, but the Council does have the option of making changes.

It is our desire to get these policies out to everyone as soon as possible. By posting these Model Policies, we are wanting to share with you the direction these updated policies are going and to give congregations and individuals the opportunity to begin to read, learn, mark, and inwardly digest them.

Model Policy for the Protection of Children and Youth 2018
Model Policy for the Protection of Vulnerable Adults 2018

The Whitaker Institute is updating the Safe Church (formerly Safeguarding) training programs to support the new model policies. In summary, we are creating two types of training sessions.

  • The “Universal” training (one hour to 1½ hours long). This training is:
    1. Offered by previously trained congregational pastoral leaders, once they have observed the training, for all parishioners.
    2. Being used and tested in June and will be available in August for pastoral leaders who have been trained.
    3. Equipping the pastoral leaders to hold a session at the congregation when needed and appropriate.
    4. Available from the current team of “Specialized” Safe Church Trainers to congregations on a volunteer basis.
  • The “Specialized” training (six hours). This training:
    1. Will be offered by trained Specialized Safe Church trainers (to be a “Specialized Training” Trainer, one must attend the “Train the Trainer” course).
    2. Will be offered to anyone with leadership or supervisory responsibility at a congregation.
    3. Covers Safe Church detailed protocol for children and vulnerable adults, and power differential and boundary training as well.
    4. Will be available for the trained Safe Church trainers to begin using in August.

Both (Universal and Specialized) training sessions will engage and utilize adult learning best practices as well as engaging videos and materials from around the wider Episcopal Church. The courses will provide conversation guidelines to the facilitator that will deepen the understanding of Safe Church policies and protocol.

Background: Model Policies for Safe Ministries – FAQ

Written and prepared by Eric Travis on May 5, 2018

What are they?

An updated and expanded set of policies, recommended practices and resources designed to foster healthy and sustainable ministry with vulnerable people in The Episcopal Church (TEC). The purpose of these policies is to create safe and welcoming space for the minors, elders, and people with disabilities in and those engaged in ministry with them, in all of the congregations, institutions, organizations, schools and agencies of each diocese.

Why are they needed?

In response to the mandates of 2015 General Convention resolutions A073 and A074, these policies reflect what The Episcopal Church (TEC) has learned from using the 2004 Model Policies and Safeguarding training materials. In addition, they include updates reflecting contemporary concerns such as social media, mission trips, pilgrimages, camp and conference center programs, and other overnight events, as well as experiences of LGBTQ+ and non-binary persons.

Who needs to read, mark and inwardly digest the Model Policies?

All clergy, and lay people who minister with minors and vulnerable adults need to know the model policies and comply with their screening and training requirements; parents, caregivers and vestry members are encouraged to understand the policies and exercise leadership in their implementation.

What’s in them for me?

Look for a concise statement of theological and ethical foundations for safe church practices, useful definitions, behavioral standards designed to ensure that vulnerable people and all who engage in ministry with them are treated with dignity and respect in all settings, standards for screening, training and monitoring lay and ordained ministers working with vulnerable people, processes for responding to concerns, expectations for local (diocesan) policy implementation and audit. In addition, these model policies include entirely new practices and guidelines for the use of social media and electronic communication.

Is there training to support the Model Policies?

Funding for a comprehensive training program has been proposed to General Convention; please encourage your deputies to support this resolution.

When do the Model Policies take effect?

They are available for your use right now, and all dioceses need to adopt the policies by January 2019. Be sure to confer with your diocesan leadership about local adaptation and implementation. NOTE: For the Diocese of Michigan, we anticipate an approved set of Dio MI Policies by the next Diocesan Council meeting in June.

Where can I find the Model Policies?

For more information or to discuss your particular context, contact The Rev. Vicki Hesse, Director of the Whitaker Institute at

Are you required to take either or both of the Safe Church trainings?

  • Clergy and Lay Leadership: All Clergy and Total Ministry Support Teams are required to complete specialized training and attend a workshop every 3 years to renew their knowledge. This includes all candidates and postulants.
  • Safe Church Online:  Many people are eligible to take the online modules of Safe Church Training.  To get access to the online modules, contact Jennifer Michalak at
  • Special Sessions:  Congregations may also choose to schedule special Safe Church Training for a flat rate.

Upcoming Safe Church Training Dates:

June 2nd
Cathedral Church of St. Paul, 4800 Woodward Ave. Detroit MI 48201

St. Patrick’s, 1434 13 Mile Rd, Madison Heights, MI 48071

Sep 8th
St. Clements, 4300 Harrison St., Inkster MI 48141

Oct 13th
St. Michael’s Cambridge Jct. 11646 Old Monroe Pike, Onsted, MI 49265

June 19 – St. Thomas Trenton (evening)

To find out more about the above, or if you have problems registering online, contact Knena Causey at


The Whitaker Institute implements these national prevention programs on behalf of the Diocese of Michigan.

4800 Woodward Ave. Detroit, MI 48201-1399

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