As the Chair of the Alabama-West Florida UMC Conference Safe Sanctuaries Committee and a former juvenile judge, I am reaching out to you because of your position of leadership at your United Methodist Church. As a member of the Conference Board of Trustees, I know that the Trustees are indeed proud of our record of caring for and protecting our children and vulnerable adults.
In an effort to ensure that none of our local churches are mired in the controversy of abuse allegations, your Conference Board of Trustees has endeavored to amend, with Conference approval, our Safe Sanctuaries Policy and Minimum Standards so that the content can be more understandable and easier to implement. We know that you want your staff and volunteers to be shielded from meritless complaints. It goes without saying that all of our churches want the children and vulnerable adults to whom we minister to be protected from all potential harm. Consequently, the Safe Sanctuaries Committee urges you to take ownership of your local congregation's commitment to and implementation of your Safe Sanctuaries policy.
If your church has all ready adopted and put into practice a Safe Sanctuaries policy, wonderful. Now we ask you to assist your fellow members in becoming knowledgable about the requirements, including the essential requirement of ongoing training and reporting. If your church has not established a local Safe Sanctuaries policy, we sincerely recommend that you place this important topic on the agenda of your next Administrative Board meeting and take an active role in complying with the Annual Conference directives regarding this matter.
A training video has been prepared and a link to it is attached below. Accessing the video is easier now as there is a link to it on the home page of our conference website. We hope that you will ensure that it will be viewed by every member of your staff and every person who volunteers in Sunday School, youth ministry and any other church-related activity which involves children and vulnerable adults. The Trustees would also like to encourage you to invite all of your Adult Sunday School classes to use it for a class lesson.
Yours in Christ,
Sue Bell Cobb
Chair, Conf. Trustees Safe Sanctuaries Committee
Click here for video.