To reduce the risk of child abuse in the church, the General Conference of the United Methodist Church adopted a Safe Sanctuaries resolution in 1996. Revised in 2004, the Safe Sanctuaries Policy was implemented at First Church in 2005. First Church is committed to providing a safe environment for children and youth, and to protecting staff and volunteers from false accusations.
Safe Gatherings began in 2012 as a project to assist the Kansas East UMC Conference (now part of the Great Plains UMC Conference) in taking advantage of technology to automate their paper-intensive protection program. After a year of enhancing the system, Safe Gatherings expanded to other United Methodist churches and conferences, and then to other denominations. In 2019, we began using Safe Gatherings for our staff and volunteers working with children, youth, and at risk adults. The focus has always been abuse prevention through a system of checks and balances.
Safe Sanctuaries Policy of First United Methodist Church:
- A minimum of two adults will be with all groups of children and youth. If two adults are not available, there will be a designated roamer.
- No adult will ever be alone with a child or youth behind closed doors.
- All classrooms have clear glass windows. All office and hallway doors have glass panels.
- All adults working with children and youth are required to have been a church member for at least six months and to undergo a screening procedure. Any information obtained as part of the screening process is kept strictly confidential.
- A CPR training class is offered each year.
These policies apply any time children and youth are gathered for a church-related activity, including the Nursery, Rainbow Room, Church School classes, Vacation Bible School, Youth Group meetings, Mission Trips and any other church-sponsored trip.