Safe Sanctuary

of Asbury United Methodist Church
in Harrington, Delaware
Reducing the Risk of Abuse in Children and Youth Ministries
Safe Sanctuaries is a movement in the United Methodist Church to protect children and youth from sexual abuse.  Our mandate to do this comes from the scripture:
            And anyone who welcomes a little child like this on my behalf is welcoming me.  
            But if anyone causes one of these little ones who trust in me to lose faith, 
            it would be better for that person to be thrown into the sea with a large millstone 
            tied around the neck.                     Matthew 18:5-6
The Two Adults Rule – no fewer than two unrelated adults will be present at all times during any church sponsored program or event.
Age Requirements – All teachers and leaders of children/youth ministries will be over 18 years of age and will have completed the church’s screening and hiring procedures.
The Five Years Older Rule – Ministry workers will be at least five years older than the oldest child served in the program.
A Window in Every Door – Rooms where ministries for children/youth take place will include windows in the doors, or doors will be left open, when activities are taking place.
Children and youth will never be left unattended.
Six Month Rule – Adult volunteers wishing to work with children/youth need to be in regular attendance at worship for at least six months.
Application and Participation Covenant – Adults wishing to work with children/youth need to complete a written application, providing personal references.  They also need to sign a participation covenant governing how they will relate to the children and church.
Background Screening – All adults, volunteer and paid, wishing to work with children/youth need to submit to a background check that includes a multi-state criminal check, a sex offender registries check, a social trace, which includes verification of name, birth date, SSN, and previous addresses.  The screening is done through a property and casualty trust company of the United Methodist Church.
Asbury United Methodist Church has formed a SAFE team to oversee the church’s Safe Sanctuary policy and procedures.  Safe Team members include:
Staff Parish Relations Representative
Worship Team Chair
Youth Leader
Trustee Chair
Administrative Board Representative
Sunday School Superintendent
IF A COMPLAINT IS MADE:  The Safe team ensures that it will be handled in a manner consistent with state laws governing the reporting of crimes of sexual abuse.