Recent news has made us all too aware of the potential for abuse of the precious children and youth that God has entrusted to the care of the churches. In response, the United Methodist Church has taken steps aimed at reducing the potential for child abuse in the church, including a resolution that calls on United Methodist churches to welcome children and make our churches safe places for children to grow and learn. Bethesda UMC takes this responsibility seriously and has adopted a Safe Sanctuaries policy to establish procedures for recruiting and training leaders, overseeing church programs for children and youth, protecting volunteers from false accusations, and having a plan in place to respond to allegations of abuse. Our church’s Safe Sanctuaries policy applies to all volunteers, paid church staff and clergy who work with children or youth in church-sponsored programs.
On this page you will find the documents and forms Bethesda UMC has developed for use in carrying out our policy:
- The Safe Sanctuaries Policy is a full statement of the church’s policy.
- The Volunteer Application provides the church with basic information about each worker and lets workers indicate that they have participated in Safe Sanctuaries training.
- Workers are asked to sign the Participation Covenant Statement to acknowledge the church’s Safe Sanctuaries policy and their intent to abide by it.
- The Laity Sexual Misconduct Questionnaire is required from each lay person who works with children or youth in this church. It calls for information about past accusations of sexual misconduct, as well as three unrelated references.
- The Reference Check questionnaire form is designed to collect information about prospective workers from their unrelated friends or acquaintances.
- The Permission to Obtain a Background Check authorizes the church to seek background information about each worker, including a Social Security number verification and criminal and sex offender records.