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Safer 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 “Safer Sanctuaries.” Safer 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.

We would like to recommend that churches purchase the book Safer Sanctuaries: Nurturing Trust Within Faith Communities. This updated resource is available for purchase on Amazon, Cokesbury, and The Upper Room.

Background Checks

The Virginia Conference has partnered with Safe Gatherings to conduct volunteer and staff background checks for the conference and United Methodist churches in Virginia.

Contact the Safe Gatherings team at [email protected] or 888.241.8258 to provide the contact information for your church or group. As soon as the church or group is set up within Safe Gatherings, applicants will be able to follow the links below to begin their Safe Gatherings approval.

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 [email protected]

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

Background Screening Release Form (implemented by the Virginia Conference) – pdf

Basic Safer Sanctuaries Trainers

Below is a list of people who might be available to lead Basic Safer Sanctuaries training in your church. Local Churches resourcing trainers will provide compensation for travel and offer an honorarium for their training services. If you are interested in becoming a Safer Sanctuaries Trainer, contact Hannah Bryn.

Debbie Brown ([email protected] or 540-344-6225, ext. 3) – Valley Ridge District

Cecelia Short ([email protected] or H: 757-826-3009 or C: 757-254-3505) – Mission Rivers District

Jason Stanley ([email protected]) – Coastal Virginia District

Cindy Banek ([email protected] or 757-630-6628) – Mission Rivers District

 Discipleship Ministries offers new Safe Sanctuaries videos

Part 1

Part 2

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

For more information contact 804-521-1139, or email our Discipleship and Congregational Vitality Ministries Office at [email protected].

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