Safe Sanctuaries is an initiative within the connectional United Methodist Church to reduce the risk of child abuse within the church. Throughout our Hebrew heritage, no matter what the place of worship looked like, the people treasured it as a holy place, a sanctuary, where they were able to worship in safety and harmony. Today, we must remember that our churches are holy places of sanctuary for the children of God, filled with the assurance that people are safe and secure in the community of faith.
As part of the United Methodist Baptism Service, we declare, “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.” (The United Methodist Hymnal, p. 44). When we think about this promise, we can only conclude that we are truly called to prevent child abuse in our churches.
To that end, BLUM Church abides by various protocols that help to better ensure the safety and well-being of children, youth, and vulnerable adults within our ministries. Some examples of such protocols include: windows or open doors in each room of ministry, at least two unrelated adults present or the use of a “roamer” to monitor children’s ministries, child abuse and criminal history background clearances for all staff and volunteers in children’s ministries, a 6 month waiting period prior to volunteers being assigned to children ministries leadership roles, and training and education about signs, symptoms, and reporting procedure for suspected abuse.
Our prayer is that Beach Lake United Methodist Church may be a beacon of light amidst a hungry, hurting world and that we may confidently invite families to come and worship God with us in the safety and sanctuary of our fellowship.
For Information on Safe Sanctuaries Training.