Child Protection Policy - Safe Sanctuaries





CHRIST UNITED METHODIST CHURCH
CHILD PROTECTION POLICY

Last Updated : October 2010
Last Reviewed : September 2014


 

“People were bringing little children to him in order that he might touch them; and the disciples spoke sternly to them. But when Jesus saw this, he was indignant and said to them ‘Let the children come to me; do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of God belongs. Truly, I tell you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will never enter it. And he took them up in his arms, laid his hands on them, and blessed them.’” (Mark 10:13-16)

This incident from the ministry of Jesus speaks of the value our Lord placed on children and the example of faith that they provide for the rest of us. As followers of Jesus, we understand that children/youth are inherently valuable members of Christ’s community. Jesus highlighted not only the faith and openness of children, but also their vulnerability. This vulnerability puts children at risk, but it also places them close to God. Their dependence on God may be what Jesus was trying to get his disciples to see as a model for their own faith. This vulnerability and dependence makes the protection and support of the community of faith even more important. Jesus was teaching that, within the community of believers, there must be protection for each of us in our dependence on God and on each other.

As followers of Christ, we resolve to protect children in their vulnerability and also to learn from them as we all grow in the faith. Our culture appears to be experiencing an increase in the incidence of child abuse and neglect. As much as we do not like to think about abusive and hurtful things happening in the church, it is clear that it is our duty as the Church to guard and protect the children, youth, church staff and volunteers who participate in our ministries.

The General Conference of The United Methodist Church, in April 1996, adopted a resolution aimed at reducing the risk of child sexual abuse in the church. The adopted resolution includes the following statement:

“Our Christian faith calls us to offer both hospitality and protection to the little ones, the children. The Social Principles of The United Methodist Church state that ‘. . . children must be protected from economic, physical and sexual exploitation, and abuse.’

Tragically, churches have not always been safe places for children. Child sexual abuse, exploitation and ritual abuse . . . occur in churches, both large and small, urban and rural. The problem cuts across all economic, cultural and racial lines. It is real, and it appears to be increasing. Most annual conferences can cite specific incidents of child sexual abuse and exploitation in their churches. Virtually every congregation has among its members adult survivors of early sexual trauma. Such incidents are devastating to all who are involved: the child, the family, the local church and its leaders. Increasingly, churches are torn apart by the legal, emotional, and monetary consequences of litigation following allegations of abuse.

God calls us to make our churches safe places, protecting children and other vulnerable persons from sexual and ritual abuse. God calls us to create communities of faith where children and adults grow safe and strong.” (From The Book of Resolutions of The United Methodist Church -- 1996. pp. 384-386.) Since the 1996 General Conference, every annual conference in the U.S. has reported at least one incident of child abuse. Thus, in covenant with all United Methodist congregations, we adopt this policy for the prevention of child abuse in our church.
 

Click the links below to access the policy and forms (all require Adobe PDF reader available here):

CHILD PROTECTION POLICY COVER SHEET

CHILD PROTECTION POLICY

APPLICATION TO WORK/VOLUNTEER WITH CHILDREN AND/OR YOUTH

EVENT PERMISSION FORM

INCIDENT REPORT

INTERVIEW QUESTIONS

TRANSPORTATION ACKNOWLEDGEMENT

SUSPECTED INCIDENT OF CHILD ABUSE

WRITTEN RECORD OF CONTACT WITH A REFERENCE

NURSERY LOG

TRAINING SLIDES

 

All completed forms should be turned into the church office for retention for a minimum of three (3) years.

 

 

 

 

 

 

September 2013

Dear Christ Family,

Summer is almost over and it is time to get back to our fall activities. We have been busy meeting and planning and planning and meeting. Special thanks to all of you who have so diligently given of your time and service. I look forward, with great anticipation, to our future together as pastor and congregation. I have found that so many of you are extremely gifted and talented in so many areas.

First of all let me say that I know that CHANGE IS DIFFICULT FOR MOST!!!! We have all been in a season of change and will continue to be for some time. However, we must remember that God is with us, even (and especially) in the midst of change and transformation. We must believe and trust God together.

Many of you already know that we have changed our Sunday morning time schedule. This decision had to be made because I also serve as pastor at Simpson UMC located at 8519 Clark Avenue, also in Cleveland. Christ and Simpson are considered to be a part of a two-point charge within our United Methodist system. Each church worships on Sunday morning and has separate committee meetings.

Everything has basically been pushed back one hour for Christ. The task was given to and the decision was made by the combined Staff Parish committees of Christ and Simpson UMCs. Both churches were accustomed to meeting for Sunday morning worship at either 10:30 am or 10:45 am. The committee needed to come to a compromise about how to set times that would be somewhat accommodating and acceptable (not perfect) for the most part for both. I want you to know that this decision was not made lightly or in a matter of minutes.

There was a process involved that included many, many ideas, suggestions and configurations. One suggestion was to have Simpson meet in the afternoon just like First Hispanic UMC did when Rev. Nazario was here. Simpson cannot do that because they have another church that rents their building during that time and that church cannot meet in the mornings. There were separate meetings, emails, more emails and eventually another combined meeting with Simpson UMC to come to the decision that was made. It was a very stressful, frustrating and at times painful process. The new times were chosen in order for our church to still be able to do all the wonderful things on Sunday morning that you have been doing over the past years as well as still be able to have the pastor present after worship. Some configurations included cutting the lengths of some of your Sunday morning activities and rescheduling all meetings to weekday evening hours. That was unacceptable for some on the committee.

Therefore, each church had to come to a compromise and sacrifice their usual Sunday morning schedule. Simpson UMC now will worship at 10:00 am and Christ will now begin worship at 11:30 am. Once again, know that each church is making a sacrifice. Please also know that the Staff Parish committees have worked extremely hard over the summer on this problem. I want to personally thank them for their dedication in serving the church on this, at times, very stressful committee. We will trust that God is moving by His Spirit and the best is yet to come!!!

Be Encouraged and Hopeful for the future with Jesus!!!

Pastor Darlene Robinson

 

Christ Church Certified as a Welcoming Congregation!

Over the summer the GROW Committee completed the Welcoming Congregation application with examples of the various things we do to welcome new comers. Our District Superintendent Orlando Chaffee reviewed the materials at Charge Conference and we submitted our materials.

We received word that we have been certified as a Welcoming Congregation! This means that we're just one of 21 congregations in the state of Ohio, 3 in Cuyahoga County and the only United Methodist congregation in Cleveland to be certified. There are only 936 Certified Welcoming Congregations out of 34,892 congregations in the US - that's just 2.7%!

The certification is noted on the Find A Church website (http://archives.umc.org/Directory/ChurchDetails.asp?FAC=57818&strLong=-81.78774&strLat=41.4549) and we be received a plaque to display to let everyone know that we bend over backwards to welcome people to our congregation.

The Welcoming Congregation certification also means that we can apply for certain grants such as the Impact Community grant that can help pay for advertising, event planning resources and specific training for our congregation.

Congratulations and thanks for your continued support of the GROW program.

Renewing Our Spiritual Journey

The adventures and fun of summer are about over.  People have been or are returning from their vacations and students are returning to school.  Where did summer go?  For many, it has been archived en family photo albums as treasured memories.  Time certainly does go by flying. 

Well, just because the summer is about over, doesn’t mean that there is not much to look forward to.  Many church activities and programs for children, youth and adults are about to resume in September and in the coming months.

Our marvelous choir is about to restart their choir rehearsals to provide inspiring music and songs for the glory of God and the edification of our congregation.  We have purchased a drum set to augment our already talented group of musicians and instruments, and hope to incorporate more contemporary praise songs to our worship service.

Sunday School will also restart next month including a longer confirmation class for our new group of confirmands.  In both of my Wednesdays Pastor’s Bible Studies we will be watching and discussing 30 minute lectures on the Old Testament given by professor, author and lecturer Amy-Jill Levine, who is professor at Vanderbilt University Divinity School.

On Saturday, August 29th we will be having a planning session at our church from 9:00 am until noon to discuss our current and future goals and activities for our church.  We will be sharing some insights we received from a Rethink Church training offered for West and East Ohio Annual Conferences that John, George, Sandy, Joan and I attended last week.  Everyone is invited to attend. 

The Journey through Lent to Easter

            By now we are about halfway through the observance of Lent.  Easter this year falls on Sunday, April 12, 2009.
 
            Lent as you know, is that season in the Christian calendar of forty days (plus six Sundays) of preparation for the celebration of Easter.  Christians in the past, and many today, have used and are using this period of Lent to prepare candidates for baptism that were and are going to be baptized on Easter Sunday.  What was an observance and practice for those who were going to be baptized became an observance and practice for all Christians.
 
            During Lent, Christians have been reflecting on temptation, sin, repentance, God’s grace, God’s will and the cost of following it or not.  We have heard how Jesus was triumphant over the temptations he confronted while fasting for 40 days and nights in the wilderness, in contrast to the people of Israel who where unfaithful to God as they were tempted in the desert while wandering there for forty years.  Jesus was triumphant and was able to teach and live the kingdom of God by example, while the Israelites failed and none of those who were wandering in the desert (with the exception of two) were allowed to enter the Promised Land.