Safety Policy for Children, Youth and Vulnerable Adults

St. Mark’s United Methodist Church, Bethany, OK

Revised (February 2016)

Introduction

            Jesus said, “Whoever welcomes [a] child…welcomes me.” (Matthew 18:5)  He also said, “If any of you put a stumbling block before one of these little ones…it would be better for you if a great millstone were fastened around your neck and you were drowned in the depth of the sea.”  (Matthew 18:6)  Our Christian faith calls us to offer both hospitality and protection to those who cannot protect themselves.

            In response to this call and action of the 2003 Oklahoma Annual Conference, we hereby commit ourselves as a community of faith to this policy of safety for children, youth, and vulnerable adults.

 

Purpose

The purpose of this policy is to address the safety of our children, youth and vulnerable adults at St. Mark’s United Methodist Church and St. Mark’s United Methodist Church sponsored events.  This policy provides written guidelines regarding required screening and training for all paid workers and volunteers who work in programs for children, youth and vulnerable adults.

 

Statement of Policy

            Therefore, as a Christian Community of faith and an Oklahoma United Methodist Congregation, we pledge to conduct the ministry of the gospel in ways that assure the safety and spiritual growth of all our children, youth, and vulnerable adults as well as all those who work with them.  It is our policy to:

  1. Follow reasonable safety measures in the selection and recruitment of workers

  2. Implement prudent operational procedures in all programs and events

  3. Conform our facilities to meet reasonable safety standards to reduce risk of harm or injury

  4. Provide workers adequate training regarding the implementation of our policies, procedures, and preferred methodologies

  5. Provide adequate supervision and support for workers as they are in ministry on our behalf

  6. Educate parents and others in our congregation as to our policies and procedures

  7. Have in place a clearly defined procedure for reporting instances of injury, harm or abuse that conforms to the requirements of state law

  8. Maintain confidentiality and respond with compassion and integrity to needs as they present themselves following incidents of harm, injury, or abuse

  9. Regularly review our policies and procedures to assure that they conform to current legal, health, and safety standards

Conclusion

            In all of our ministries with children, youth, and vulnerable adults, this congregation is committed to demonstrating the love of Jesus Christ so that each person is “surrounded by steadfast love,…established in the faith, and confirmed and strengthened in the way that leads to life eternal” (Baptismal Covenant II, United Methodist Hymnal, p.44).

 

 

                                  Volunteer Covenant

 

 

 

Mission: to build a family of believers who glorify God and help each

                                other become fully devoted followers of Jesus Christ

 

Vision:   renewing lives/restoring families/reviving the community

 

Plan:      love with a passion, disciple with a purpose, worship with

                                everything and serve wholeheartedly

______________________________________________________________________________________________

 

St. Mark’s offers a unique setting for ministry to and with children, youth and vulnerable adults. There is a special “assumed” covenant that is created when families entrust their loved ones to our care. Each child, youth or vulnerable adult is a person of immeasurable worth. As such, we must, at all times, abide by this assumed covenant and care for others in a Godly manner.

 

The calling of God to volunteer in one of these ministries is a high and holy calling. Through prayer and study, God equips us to carry out the responsibilities of being an instrument in leading others to know our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. In responding to this call, please commit yourself to the following guidelines and then return and sign the covenant.

 

As a volunteer with children, youth or vulnerable adults at St. Mark’s UMC

I am committed to Jesus.

  • I have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, which I desire to model by sharing the stories of Jesus.

  • I desire to grow in my faith and commitment to God through personal study or group Bible study opportunities.

 

I am committed to my church.

  • I will attend worship service regularly.

  • I will support the doctrinal beliefs of the United Methodist Church, as it relates to my teaching.

  • I will use only approved curriculum and resources.

  • I will frugally use the resources provided and will see that all supplies and equipment are taken care of and stored properly.

  • I will follow directions and rules set up by church leadership.

 

I am committed to this responsibility.

  • I will act in an appropriate and Christian manner with each person I come into contact with.

  • I will at all times, act in ways that glorify and honor God.

  • I will live by the understanding that, as a person in authority, it is my responsibility to avoid inappropriate physical contact with the children, youth or vulnerable adults in my care.

  • I will refrain from verbal abuse, including put-downs, inappropriate jokes, sarcasm, and racial slurs.

  • I will discipline with kindness and grace and will refrain from all forms of corporal punishment.

  • I will make it my primary responsibility to minister to the needs of those in my care, and not my own.

  • I will not intentionally engage in any activities that may endanger the safety or well-being of those in my care.

  • I will promptly report any abusive or inappropriate behavior to the ministry leader.

  • I have not been convicted or involved in any child-related felonies or abuse.

  • I will inform and/or discuss with a minister of this congregation if I am a survivor of child abuse.

  • I will participate in training events periodically to improve my teaching and/or volunteering skills.

 

 

In obedience to God’s call, and after prayerful consideration, I commit to the above guidelines to be a volunteer with children, youth and/or vulnerable adults at St. Mark’s UMC. (Please sign digital signature above)