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Safe Sanctuaries

Protection Policies for Minors and Vulnerable Adults

Below are resources provided through The United Methodist Church and the Virginia Conference for protection policies for minors and vulnerable adults. Many of these resources are part of the resources created by The United Methodist Church called “Safe Sanctuaries.” Safe Sanctuaries is an expression of a faith that makes a congregation a safe place for children, youths, seniors and vulnerable adults to experience the abiding love of God. God calls us to make our churches safe places, protecting children and other vulnerable persons from abuse. We are also called to make off-site venues or activities as safe as possible.

Background Checks

The Virginia Conference has partnered with ScreeningOne to conduct volunteer and staff background checks for the conference and United Methodist churches in Virginia. Through this agreement, the conference has established a preferred product package that combines various criminal background searches for an industry-best, pre-employment, criminal history report. Churches can sign up for their own ScreeningOne account with no paperwork and receive exclusive conference rates. There are no minimums and no sign-up fees. For details on the program and any questions, contact the Virginia UMC representative, Paul Craddock, at (919) 533-5005 or

Child/Youth/At-Risk Adult Protection Policy (implemented by the Virginia Conference) – pdf

BeADisciple Online Training available Aug. 1-12, 2022

Creating Safe Spaces for Children and Youth Ministries
Who is supervising the shower schedule for your youth group’s summer mission trip? How many adults are overseeing the costume changes for the Christmas Pageant? I know you have two adults with your Sunday School’s 4-year-old class, but what happens when someone needs a bathroom break? How do you get your teenagers to stop going down the street for coffee during Sunday School hour? And are those teenagers still running your VBS games? What is your plan for the day when you get falsely accused of improper conduct with children or youth?

Whether your congregation calls it a Safe Sanctuary, Church or Gathering policy – or a Policy for Protection, or Prevention of Abuse, or any of a dozen other names – this document is your best preparation for reducing the risk in those situations and more!

In this two-week online workshop, you’ll learn why you should have and follow an up-to-date policy, what the policy includes generally and specifically, where to go for help when needed – and what your next steps should be, including writing (or editing) a policy, if needed.

Through readings, discussion questions, and an optional Zoom meeting, you will hear how Children & Youth Ministers, volunteers, pastors, administrators, and others, are reducing their risk of abuse or false accusations of abuse.

Learners should expect to spend an hour a day online in reading and responding, which will earn a completion certificate.  There may be an optional Zoom session, scheduled with learners input.

This course is eligible for 1 CEU.

Click here to register

 Basic Safe Sanctuaries Trainers

Below is a list of people who might be available to lead Basic Safe Sanctuaries training in your church. Local Churches resourcing trainers will provide compensation for travel and offer an honorarium for their training services.

Debbie Brown ( or 540-344-6225, ext. 3) – Roanoke/Roanoke District

Cecelia Short ( or H: 757-826-3009 or C: 757-254-3505) – Hampton/York River District

Jason Stanley ( – Norfolk/Elizabeth River District

Cindy Banek ( or 757-229-1771, ext. 258) – Williamsburg/York River District

Safe Sanctuary resources available for Children, Youths, Vulnerable Adults and Seniors from Discipleship Ministries:

 Discipleship Ministries offers new Safe Sanctuaries videos

Click Here

Resources available from the Virginia Department of Social Services for Vulnerable Adults and Seniors:

Signs of Adult Abuse – Virginia Department of Social Services  

Online Training for Mandated Reporters

Coming Soon

The Learning Ministries Office is currently preparing sample forms and guidelines for crafting a Protection Policy for Minors and Vulnerable Adults

For more information

For more information contact 804-521-1139, or email our Learning Ministries Office at

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