The Episcopal Church’s Safe Church program for the prevention of sexual misconduct is grounded in our Baptismal Covenant - our call to seek and serve Christ in all persons and to respect the dignity of every human being. One needs to look no further than the current newsfeed to understand that abuse is widespread in our society, and happening all too often in the very places that should be safest. Safe Church policies and training provide education and best practices that can help us to respond to and prevent abuse in our church and community.
The 2015 General Convention passed new, expanded Safe Church policies and required all dioceses adopt them no later than January 2019. Our Diocese has done so and requires that all churches adopt the new diocesan “Policy for the Protection of Children, Youth and Vulnerable Adults.” (available at www.bit.ly/diosovasafechurch) At our June 18, 2019 meeting, St. Andrew’s Vestry voted unanimously to adopt this new Safe Church policy.
This new policy brings some inconvenient but necessary changes that, in the long run, will make St. Andrew’s a safer place for everyone. The new policy requires more parishioners to take some level of Safe Church training, including everyone who has a key to the building. Key holders who have a current Safe Church certificate need not take training until that certificate expires. If you are not currently certified, then you will need to take the Universal Safe Church Training. This is a 90-minute class and is offered in various locations around the Diocese. You can also complete this training online. You can find a list of currently scheduled Universal Training classes and information about online training at www.diosova.org/safe_church.
The locks to all exterior doors of St. Andrew's will be changed on Tuesday, August 20. Current keys will no longer function after August 19. You are welcome to pick up a new key prior to August 20 as long as we have received your Safe Church certification. Please Rachel Roby at firstname.lastname@example.org to obtain a new key. Lorna Williams has been appointed as the Safe Church Contact person for our parish. While she is away in August, if you have previously taken the training and need to know if you are still certified, please contact Rachel.
Please be patient as we move through these necessary changes. We all love St. Andrew’s and want it to always be a safe place for everyone. Safe Church policies and training are important and meaningful ways we can do that.
On behalf of the vestry,