Child, Youth and Vulnerable Adult
Fridley United Methodist Church
The General Conference of the United Methodist Church in 1996, adopted a resolution aimed at reducing the risk of child abuse in the church. The adopted resolution, continued in 2000, 2004 and 2008, includes the following statement:
Jesus said, “Whoever welcomes a child…welcomes me.” (Matthew 18.5). Children are our present and our future, our hope, our teachers, our inspiration. They are full participants in the life of the church and in the realm of God. Jesus 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 the little ones, the children. The Social Principles of the United Methodist Church state that “children must be protected from economic, physical and sexual exploitation, and abuse”.
Tragically, churches have not always been safe places for children. Child sexual abuse, exploitation and ritual abuse (ritual abuse refers to abusive acts committed as part of ceremonies or rites; ritual abusers are often related to cults) occur in churches, large and small, urban and rural. The problem cuts across all economic, cultural and racial lines. It is real, and it appears to be increasing. Most annual conferences can cite specific incidents of child (youth or vulnerable adult) sexual abuse and exploitation in their churches. Virtually every congregation has among its members adult survivors of early sexual trauma.
Such incidents are devastating to all who are involved; the child, the family, the local church and its leaders. Increasingly, churches are torn apart by the legal, emotional and monetary consequences of litigation following allegations of abuse.
God calls us to make our churches safe places, protecting children and other vulnerable persons from sexual and ritual abuse. God calls us to create communities of faith where children and adults grow safe and strong. (From the Book of Resolutions of the United Methodist Church – 2008, pp 245-247).
Thus, in covenant with all United Methodist congregations, we adopt this policy for the prevention of abuse in our church, and it replaces all previous policies.
Our congregation’s purpose for establishing this Protection Policy and accompanying procedures is to demonstrate our absolute and unwavering commitment to the physical safety and spiritual growth of all persons, and to reduce the risk of abuse occurring in our church.
Statement of Covenant
Therefore, as a Christian community of faith and a United Methodist congregation, we pledge to conduct the ministry of the gospel in ways that assure the safety and spiritual growth of all persons, as well as those who work with and lead them.
- We follow reasonable safety measures in the selection and recruitment of workers. All persons who work with children, youth or vulnerable adults will be screened through the Minnesota Annual Conference or similar screening sites which include state and local sexual predator records.
- We implement prudent operational procedures in all programs and events.
- We educate our workers regarding the use of all appropriate policies and methods, including methods of discipline, and, as possible, first aid and related safety skills.
- We have a clearly defined procedure for reporting a suspected incident of abuse that conforms to the requirements of state law. Our volunteers and paid staff are instructed to report all suspected incidents of abuse.
- We are prepared to respond to media inquiries if an incident occurs.
- We inform parents and guardians of our policies, and provide training for our teachers, leaders and volunteers regarding our policies.
In all of our ministries with children, youth and vulnerable adults, Fridley United Methodist Church is committed to demonstrating the love of Jesus Christ through the provision of a safe and sacred place where all persons may learn and grow in faith.
Current screening and application procedures
- Application forms are filled out by both volunteers and paid staff.
- All persons who work with children, youth or vulnerable adults will be screened through the Minnesota Annual Conference screening procedures, through the Rainbow school screening process or through similar procedures and sites.
- Disclosure forms must be signed by all workers, paid and unpaid, concerning past offenses against persons as part of the screening process.
- References are requested and checked.
- Face to face interviews are conducted before employment with paid staff. Phone interviews may suffice with volunteers
- Volunteer workers who have been involved in our ministries before the screening procedures were put in place will be screened over time as funds permit.
- Volunteers who have been screened may be screened again at any time.
Current Safety Procedures
- 2 Adult rule, at least two adults in every classroom whenever possible
- Open door policy
- Sign in and out policy for nursery age
- Parents are requested to pick up children in classrooms and not to allow children to pick up younger siblings in other rooms or to leave the classrooms by themselves.
- Membership: A volunteer must be a church member for 6 months before working in a leadership capacity with children, youth or vulnerable adults. An exception is the long time church constituent who has been volunteering in the ministries for a number of years before these procedures were put into place.
- Written policy for disciplining children
- CPR, AED and first aid training provided for teachers and other volunteers when possible.
- Evacuation procedures are clear and practiced.
- To keep our children and youth as safe as possible, we will not publish identifiable photos on our church web site. Photos of children and youth will be used in the classrooms, in written church publicity, on church displays such as bulletin without identification of individual children. Parents/Guardians will be asked to sign a permission form for the children’s and youth’s photos to be used in these ways.
- Transportation of children or youth: Permission will be obtained before transporting children or youth, which releases the church from liability and provides medical authorization. Drivers will prove valid driver’s licenses and insurance. All children and youth will use seat belts. Drivers will be at least age 25, and another adult will be present whenever possible.
Policy Regarding Known Sex Offenders
It is the desire of Fridley United Methodist Church to extend its ministry to all persons while continuing to provide for the safety of all who attend.
When the lead pastor, or any member of the church council, is informed that a registered sex offender is seeking to attend or is attending the church, steps must be taken to manage risk as it lives out its call to minister to all people. These include the following:
· A member of the clergy staff will obtain a record of the sex offender's prior criminal convictions by conducting a criminal records check. If the sex offender is on probation, a member of the clergy staff will identify his or her probation officer and ascertain the conditions that have been imposed. In some cases, sex offenders are not even allowed to attend church. If the probation officer says that the offender is free to attend church, the clergy will ask the officer if he or she would recommend that the offender be allowed to attend church, and if so, under what conditions. This information will be obtained in writing, or, if that is not possible, the clergy person will make a detailed written account of the officer's response.
· The sex offender's right to attend church services and activities will be conditional upon his or her signing a "conditional attendance agreement" that imposes at least the following conditions (other conditions may be imposed depending on the circumstances:
o The sex offender will not work with minors or vulnerable adults in any capacity in the church.
o The sex offender will not transport minors or vulnerable adults to or from church, or any church activity.
o The sex offender will not attend any activities for youth or children or activities for vulnerable adults while on church property, except for those involving his or her own child or children, and only if in the presence of a chaperone*.
o The sex offender will always be in the presence of a designated chaperone while on church property. This includes religious services, educational classes, activities, and restroom breaks. The chaperone will meet the sex offender at the entrance of the church, and accompany the sex offender on church premises until returned to his or her vehicle.
o The sex offender will be introduced to the congregation as well as the designated chaperones.
A single violation of these conditions will result in an immediate termination of the sex offender's privilege to attend the church.
The conditional attendance agreement option will not be available unless the church's insurer is informed and confirms that coverage will not be affected.
In some cases, exclusion of the offender from church is the only viable option. This option is advisable if (1) for any reason the conditional attendance option is not feasible or enforceable; or (2) if the offender's crimes are so frequent or heinous that exclusion is the only appropriate option; or (3) one or more of the offender's victims attends the church. This will be a judgment call made by the lead pastor and Church Council.
*Designated chaperones shall be lay members of the church and act as chaperones to facilitate attendance by the sex offender. There must be more than one person willing and trained to act as chaperone to facilitate attendance by the sex offender. Training shall include hospitality, the rules the sex offender must follow, and procedures for questions and emergencies. Such training will be provided by clergy or selected staff member.
Fridley United Methodist Church Computer and Internet Use Policy
Fridley United Methodist Church (FUMC) provides free and public access to the Internet. Our congregation supports the right to privacy and confidentiality of all who use this service with their own devices and/or computers. The content of the Internet is not managed or governed by the church or any church committee or church appointed organization; therefore users may encounter materials they consider offensive. The Board of Trustees retains its legal right to access the content of all church owned computers.
FUMC Church and its members assume no responsibility for damages of any type arising from the use of Internet on its premises.
Illegal use, as defined by law, of the Internet at or near FUMC on any device or computer is prohibited.
It is illegal for anyone to use Internet access to view, print, distribute, display, send or receive images, or graphics, of material that violates laws relating to child pornography or any illegal activity.
Internet users may not knowingly exhibit or display any material which is harmful to minors in its content or material that is obscene in any place of accommodation where minors are or may be present.
Minnesota Statutes 13.40 (Minnesota Data Practices Act); 134.50 (Internet access, libraries); 617.241 (Obscene material); 617.246 (Child Pornography); 617.292 (Materials harmful to minors).
Initial Safe Sanctuaries Policy Adopted June 2007, updated May 2009, March 2010
Sex Offender Policy accepted and approved by the Church Council April 23, 2012
Internet Policy accepted and approved by the Trustees April 2012
Child Protection Services
Report child abuse Emergency: 763 427-1212 Non-emergency 763-422-6990
Anoka County Victim/Witness Program
Sexual Assault Resource 24 hour crisis line from 8:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. is 763-323-5559.
After hours and weekends only call 763-427-1212
Anoka Crisis Nursery
Will do up to 72 hour placements of children infants to 12 years old in licensed shelter home; emergency day time care in licensed day care, and drop in crisis child care.
Anoka County Human Services
For more information about adult protection, or to make a confidential report of suspected maltreatment of a vulnerable adult, call: 763-422-7168
For PDF version of the Safe Sanctuary Policy, click Here