Approved by the Church Council of the Holiday Park United Methodist Church


          Our Christian faith calls us to offer both hospitality and protection to all including, especially, our children.  The Social Principles of The United Methodist Church states that, “We call on church and society to support and advocate for the well-being of all children and young people and for their safety, nurture, agency, education, and participation in church and community life.” (2020, Basic Rights & Freedoms, Section B: Children & Young People).

          In accordance with the Social Principles of The United Methodist Church and resolutions adopted by the General Conference of The United Methodist Church is 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 its 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.


 Children: New-born to twelve (12) years old/Sixth Grade

Youth: Thirteen (13) years old\Seventh Grade to eighteen (18) years old/Twelfth Grade

Vulnerable Adult: Nineteen (19) years old or older who are physically of mentally challenged to any degree


          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).



            Abuse in which a person deliberately and intentionally causes bodily harm to a child, youth, or vulnerable adult.  Examples may include violent battery with a weapon (knife, belt, strap, club, etc.), burning, shaking, kicking, choking, fracturing bones, and any of a wide variety of non-accidental injuries to the body.


            Abuse in which a person exposes a child, youth, or vulnerable adult to spoken and/or unspoken violence or emotional cruelty.  Emotional abuse sends a message to the receiver of worthlessness, badness, and being not only unloved but undeserving of love and care.  Children, youth, and vulnerable adults exposed to emotional abuse may have experienced being locked in a closet, being deprived of any sign of affection, being constantly told that they are bad or stupid, or being allowed or forced to abuse alcohol or drugs.  Emotional abuse is often very difficult to prove and is devastating to the victim.


            Abuse in which a person endangers the health, safety or welfare of a child, youth, or vulnerable adult through negligence.  Neglect may include withholding food, clothing, medical care, education, and even affection and affirmation of the self-worth of the child, youth, or vulnerable adult.  This is perhaps the most common form of abuse.


            Abuse in which sexual contact between a child, youth, or vulnerable adult (or older more powerful person) occurs.  The victim is never truly capable of consenting to or resisting such contact and/or such sexual acts.  Often, the victim is physically and psychologically dependent upon the perpetrator of the abuse.  Examples of sexual abuse may include fondling, intercourse, incest, and the exploitation and of exposure to child pornography or prostitution.


            Abuse in which physical, sexual, or psychological violations of a child, youth, or vulnerable adult are inflicted regularly, intentionally, and in a stylized way by a person or persons responsible for the welfare of the child, youth, or vulnerable adult.  The abuser may appeal to some higher authority  or power to justify the abuse.  The abuse may include cruel treatment of animals of repeated threats to harm the child, youth, or vulnerable adult, other persons, and animals.  Reports or ritual abuse are often extremely horrifying and may seem too grim to be true.  Any child, youth, or vulnerable adult making such reports should not be ignored.


  1.  All individuals (paid staff & volunteers) who desire to work with children, youth, or vulnerable adults must have been a member of the congregation of the Holiday Park United Methodist Church for at least six months, complete an appropriate application, obtain written references from a minimum five year relationship, and receive their Pennsylvania Child Abuse Registry Clearance through the  Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare and Criminal Records Check through the Pennsylvania State Police.  Only then will an individual be permitted to work with children, youth, or vulnerable adults.  The Church will pay for all fees regarding these clearances.  An applicant awaiting Criminal Records Check and Child Abuse Registry Clearance will be permitted to work with children, youth, or vulnerable adults under the supervision of an adult with said clearances, but only after follow-up phone calls of personal references have been completed and the results are interpreted as falling in line with this policy. Clearances must be renewed every five years.

        2. A minimum of three personal references must be returned by the applicant. The   Pastor or screener (SPRC Chairperson or

              Nurture Chairperson) will review and  call the references.  They will then be placed in a confidential locking file,   accessible                      only to the Pastor or to the SPRC Chairperson (in matters pertaining to  paid staff).       

        3. Any individual who is found to have prior conviction for any form of child abuse will not be permitted to work in any area that                  involves direct contact with children, youth, or vulnerable adults. Such an individual will meet with a pastoral staff  member to                determine how he or she can be involved in other areas of church  ministry.  Pastoral staff shall be defined as the Pastor,                          Director of Program & Evangelism Ministries, Director of Youth Ministries, and Staff/Parish Relations Chairperson.

         4. The pastoral staff will have the right to reject an applicant if concerns are raised   about their history of suitability to work                      with children, youth, or vulnerable adults.  Such individuals may be encouraged to serve in a different church ministry.  The                      pastoral staff will discuss the matter with the applicant.
          5. Youth (by definition) working with children will be required to fill out a Youth   Worker Application and obtain written                                 permission from their parents or guardians.   A five year age differential between the youth worker and the oldest child   is                       required.  A youth worker must always work under the supervision of an adult with  proper clearances.
           6. Each classroom, activity area, or office used by children, youth, or vulnerable  adults, should have a window with unobstructed                 viewing or a viewing device that  permits observation of the room’s interior.  In rooms without windows, the door   must be                     kept open far enough for activities to be observed.
           7. During any church activity that involves a child, a single youth (single meaning   only one in number), or a vulnerable adult, a                   two adult rule will be adopted (two  adults with proper clearances).  When additional adult volunteers are needed  for a                             planned activity, parents of participating children or youth will be  acceptable under the supervision of volunteers who have                     proper clearances.
  1. Supervision of children will be maintained before and after activities until all are  in the custody of their parents or a                       designated adult.  For Sunday School purposes,  parents or designated adults are required to pick up children kindergarten aged     or  younger.  Teachers will remain in their classroom with these children until each  child is in the custody of the parent or                designated adult.
         9. Church leaders (Pastoral Staff, Chairpersons of Church Council, Trustees, Nurture Ministry, and Staff/Parish Relations) will be                   informed about the issue of reducing  the risk of abuse in The Church, the legal liability of The Church, and how to                                       handle allegations.
  1. All individuals working with children, youth, or vulnerable adults, as well as Pastoral Staff, Chairpersons of Church Council,              Trustees, Nurture Ministry,   Staff/Parish Relations, and Nursery Director(s) will be required to attend a training   session                covering the following:

 Screening procedure rationale

Civil & criminal consequence of misconduct

Abuse definitions

Symptoms of abuse

What constitutes inappropriate conduct

Risk reducing policies

Reporting procedures

Safe Sanctuaries video

 Nurture Ministry  and the Senior Pastor will be responsible for such training.


        11. All children and youth will have completed a Youth Event Registration Form that  includes emergency medical information and                  signatures of parents or legal  guardians indicating knowledge and permission for their children to participate in  any church                    related activity that will take place off-site and require church supplied  transportation.
        12. All paid and volunteer staff working with children, youth, or vulnerable adults will   be required to read The Church abuse                          policy  and sign a form indicating that the  policy has been read and that they will abide by the policy.



Child abuse thrives when it goes unnoticed or unreported.  A reporting procedure enhances our efforts to protect our children, youth, and vulnerable adults.


  1. If a worker has reason to suspect that a child or youth has been abused (whether inside or outside of church programs) he or          she must report his or her suspicions  to the pastor or SPRC Chairperson and an immediate investigation should ensure      to          determine credibility of the accusation to reduce the risk of false accusations.
  2. In the event of alleged abuse to a vulnerable adult, the Pastor or SPRC Chairperson is to be notified immediately.  It is the                responsibility of the Pastor or  SPRC Chairperson to report this to the proper agency only AFTER an immediate  “in-house”                investigation to determine credibility of the accusation.
  3. Once a report is made to the Pastor or SPRC Chairperson, it is his/her responsibility to take action only after determining that        the accusation of abuse is  credible.  If there is any doubt as to whether to report to State authorities, he is to consult local            Child Abuse agencies.  One note of caution:  if the caller is in  need of advice only, he should identify himself or herself but              should not identify the child or youth nor the suspect.  Once a child or  youth’s name is given, the  agency that was called for          advice is required to begin their own investigation.
  4. If an investigation of an alleged abuse is un-founded or erroneous, counseling of some substance should be provided for the            person making the accusation.
  1. All actions by volunteers and paid staff will be documented and kept indefinitely in a designated locking file.




          An accusation of abuse may occur in any church.  Inappropriate reactions can multiply the pain and liability inherent in an abuse case.  Our congregation and community will know The Church takes all allegations seriously and will handle them in a forthright manner with due respect and confidentiality for the privacy of those individuals involved.


         1. The Pastor or SPRC Chairperson will notify the parents, in confidence of the allegedly abused child if they are not already aware                of the allegation.
          2. The accused should be treated with dignity. However, the worker will be relieved  from his or her position by the Pastor or SPRC                Chairperson until an investigation is completed with the Pastor or SPRC Chairperson leading the investigation.  The  Church will                 refrain from judging the individual as guilty or innocent and will  continue to offer support and care while the investigation is                 proceeding.  This  applies to any allegation of abuse within or outside of The Church.
          3. The incident will be reported by the pastor or SPRC Chairperson to the insurance company, the District Superintendent, the                       SPRC  Chairperson, and the Church  Council Chairperson if facts, AFTER an investigation, warrant this process.
  1. Pastoral resources and support will be extended to the victim and the family. The       care of the child, youth, or vulnerable adult is the first priority.
  1. Information regarding allegations and accusations is extremely sensitive material and MUST be kept confidential.  Therefore, this information should not be shared in inappropriate situations or with the media.  If contacted by the media, the Pastor  or SPRC Chairperson will issue a statement for The Church that “the Bishop is the  only person that may speak to the allegations at this time.”  At no time should any  volunteer or paid staff grant an interview to the media.  All inquires should be              directed to the Pastor.


The Church has an obligation to keep all children, youth, and vulnerable adults as safe as possible and to provide emotional care as well as physical care when necessary.


          1. Any accident that may occur (scrapes, cuts, bruises, sprains, undetermined injuries such as broken bones, etc.) should be                        reported and filed in The Church office.

  1. A follow-up call should be made within twenty-four hours to the parent of the child or youth with the injury as to the status of the injury and to offer care and support     to facilitate healing.



The Policy and Procedures of The Church shall be reviewed annually by a committee designated by the Church Council.  This committee shall always include the Pastor.


 The Holiday Park United Methodist Church reserves the right to continuously evaluate groups who solicit the use of church facilities for youth organizations and functions as to their procedure and policies used to reduce the risk of abuse to children, youth and vulnerable adults.  Recommendations for a more comprehensive program aimed at reducing the risk of abuse may be made to such groups using church facilities.  A negative response to such recommendations may result in the termination of use of church facilities.

The Church currently holds the Charter for Boy Scout Troop 111 & Cub Scout Pack 111. Pennsylvania Child Abuse Clearances are kept on file from all their leaders and volunteers.