Updated Safe Sanctuaries Policy
posted on September 24
The 2020 Pandemic has given cause to communicate with church members and youth through a digital church format.
The Mission Council recently approved an addendum to the Conference’s Safe Sanctuaries policy for Best Practices for Preventing Abuse and Maintaining Safety and Boundaries for the Digital Church. As the pandemic has given rise to the digital church (e.g., virtual, online ministry through small groups, worship, youth ministry, etc.), local churches are thinking through standards of care, guidelines and best practices for maintaining healthy boundaries with vulnerable populations like minors during digital engagement.
The addendum includes more suggestions, including guidance for “children’s time” in worship and concerns related to requesting contact information from minors, particularly those under age 13 in keeping with Children’s Online Privacy Protection Rule (COPPA).
Safe Gatherings has developed a new Module for Online Ministry as part of Missouri’s Safe Gatherings certification. Any new applicants will experience this module as part of certification, and those who are already certified through Safe Gatherings have been sent an email encouraging them to stay informed and go through the new module.
Now is the time for your church to take advantage of the transition to Safe Gatherings, if you have not done so. The Conference is paying half of the cost to certify local church members. The Missouri Conference is supplementing half the cost of the program through December 2023 (Regular price: $45). The price per applicant for the individual church program available now through the Conference is $22.50. The Safe Gatherings Staff can be reached at 888-241-8258 to assist your church with the transition to the Safe Gatherings online certification process and to answer any questions about the transition process.
This new addendum to the Conference Safe Gatherings certification course will keep youth and church members better informed on “best practices” in this new digital church environment.
Questions? Contact Conference Safe Sanctuaries Administrator Tina Twenter at firstname.lastname@example.org.