Safe Sanctuaries is the name commonly given by local United Methodist Annual Conferences and local churches to their individual efforts to make conference, district, and local church programs welcoming and safe for children and youth. The General Conference mandate of 1996 requires all United Methodist congregations, regardless of size, to implement policies and procedures that help protect children, youth and vulnerable adults; protect the adult workers who serve in these ministries; and protect the various assets of the church for making disciples of Jesus Christ.
The Annual Conference Safe Sanctuaries Team developed a policy to govern the programs and ministries sponsored by the South Georgia Annual Conference. This policy was presented and approved at the Annual Conference session in June 2007 and then amended at the June 2022 session. Click here to download the policy.
What should churches do to keep participants safe from abuse and workers safe from false allegations of abuse?
Safe Sanctuaries, written by Rev. Joy Thornburg Melton, can guide you through the process. Each church should recruit a team of church leaders, including Nursery, Children’s and Youth staff, age level coordinators, chairpersons from Trustees and Finance committees, educators, attorneys and police persons to write policy and procedures for each church’s governing body to adopt. If a church is not actively engaged in enforcement of their policies and procedures, they run the risk of being found negligent.
As a Christian community of faith and a United Methodist congregation, you should:
Every local church should know: