Safe Sanctuary Policy

 

STATEMENT OF PURPOSE AND POLICY

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

  In accordance with the Social Principles of The United Methodist Church and resolutions adopted by the General Conference of The United Methodist Church in April 1996 aimed at reducing the risk of child sexual abuse, the Holiday Park United Methodist Church (herein after referred to as “The Church”) hereby adopts the following policy.

  The purpose of this policy is to reduce to the maximum extent possible, the risk of abuse both within The Church and it’s interface with the community.

This policy is intended to serve and protect not only the potential victims of abuse, but also limit the vulnerability of individuals and The Church to loss from litigation arising from such real or alleged incidents.

The Church endeavors to protect the accuser and the accused in matters of abuse, in any form, of children, youth, or vulnerable adults, by establishing and implementing methods of prevention and methods of reporting alleged abuse and by providing the means for opportunities for conflict resolution.

This policy will serve to provide guidance to the Pastor(s), Staff, Staff-Parish Relations Committee, Church Council, and laity of The Church in matters of abuse.

 

SCRIPTURAL FOUNDATION

 Our relationship to God and our theological orientation as Christians and as United Methodists compel us to reflect on God’s Word as the basis of our handling matters of abuse.  All human beings, both male and female, are created in the image of God, and thus have been made equal in Christ.

     * Whoever welcomes a little child like this on my behalf welcomes me.  But if anyone causes one of these little ones to lose faith, it would be better for you if a great millstone were fastened around your neck and you were drowned in the depth of the sea (Matthew 18:5&6).

      * But now you must be holy in everything you do, just as God, who chose you to be his children, is holy.  And remember that the heavenly Father to whom you pray has no favorites when he judges.  He will judge or reward you according to what you do.  So you must live in reverent fear of Him during your time here on earth (1 Peter 1:15-17).

       * For He will conceal me there when troubles come; He will hide me in His sanctuary.  He will place me out of reach on a high rock (Psalm 27:5)

 God’s grace, freely given through Jesus Christ, calls us to be channels of grace, not exploitation, and to be agents of healing and redemption.  In light of these understandings, when we honor the complete integrity of one another, we honor and remember the Body of Christ.

 In all our ministries, The Church is committed to demonstrating the love of Jesus Christ so that each person will be… “surrounded by steadfast love… established in the faith, confirmed and strengthened in the way that leads to life eternal” (Baptism Covenant, United Methodist Hymnal).