At Safe Harbor, it is very important that all who enter are safe.
MISSISSIPPI CONFERENCE OF THE UNITED METHODIST CHURCH
Safe Sanctuaries Policy and Minimum Requirements
for Conference Ministries
Guidelines for Local Church Ministries
The 2006 Annual Conference approved a resolution that the conference “shall develop safety and risk-reducing policies and procedures for the purpose of providing protection to children, youth, and vulnerable adults that come to us, to staff and volunteers from unwarranted allegations of abuse, and to limit the extent of legal liability.” A task group developed the following policy, which was presented and adopted at the 2007 Annual Conference.
Jesus said, “Whoever welcomes a child, welcomes me” (Matthew 18:5). He also said, “If any of you put a stumbling block before one of these little ones, it would be better for you if a great millstone were fasted around your neck and you were drowned in the depth of the sea” (Matthew 18:6).
Our Christian faith calls us to offer both hospitality and protection to those who cannot protect themselves. We affirm this responsibility for the safety of children at each child’s baptism by our congregational response, pledging: “With God’s help we will so order our lives after the example of Christ, that this child, surrounded by steadfast love, may be established in the faith, and confirmed and strengthened in the way that leads to life eternal” (“Book of Worship,” Baptismal Covenant, Congregational Pledge, 11).
Building on our theological and spiritual foundation, our purpose for establishing this policy and accompanying procedures is to demonstrate our absolute and unwavering commitment to create a safe environment that will foster the comprehensive health, growth, and development of all within our charge and care.
As a Christian community of faith, the Mississippi Conference of the United Methodist Church, we pledge to conduct the ministry of the gospel in ways that foster the safety and spiritual growth of all. Nothing in this policy or procedure is designed to hinder or prevent the investigation of suspected, reported, or confirmed violation of any Mississippi criminal laws.
We hereby declare our intent to:
Follow reasonable safety measures in the selection and recruitment of staff and volunteers.
- Provide adequate training for staff and volunteers regarding the implementation of our policies and procedures.
- Implement prudent operational procedures in all programs and events that will encourage the development of our adults and children.
a clearly defined procedure for reporting instances of injury, harm or
abuse in accordance with the requirements of state and federal laws.
with compassion and integrity to needs as they present themselves
following incidents of harm, injury, or abuse.
- Review our policies and procedures regularly to meet changing legal, health, and safety standards.
In all of our ministries, the Mississippi Conference of the United Methodist Church is committed to demonstrating the love of Jesus Christ so that each person is “surrounded by steadfast love …established in the faith, and confirmed and strengthened in the way that leads to life eternal.” (Baptismal Covenant II, United Methodist Hymnal, p.44).