Safe Sanctuaries Summer 2008 Update

Summer 2008 Safe Sanctuary Update

(from the Wyoming Conference Safe Sanctuary Task Force)


People in churches all across our Conference are fast at work trying to create safer ministries for their children, youth and vulnerable adults.  This sheet is an attempt to clarify what is, and what is not expected of local churches and pastors this year... and to clarify what these churches and pastors can fairly expect from

the Conference Task Force.  Please read the bullets below!

•                  What is due by Charge Conference 2008?  By Charge Conference this fall, every local church in our Conference is expected to have a Safe Sanctuary Policy and Procedures Document in place.  Notice that churches are NOT expected to have all of their procedures implemented at that time.  All that is expected is that a Policy has been approved by the Church Council.  Surely, most churches will have implemented much of their policies, but full implementation is not expected until Annual Conference 2009. For assistance with developing or implementing your church’s policy contact Rev. Craig Gommer at [email protected] or 570-836-1229.

•                  What should each church’s Policy and Procedures document include?  It is expected that every local church’s Safe Sanctuary Policy and Procedures document will be unique!  It is vitally important that every church approve a policy that they can and will follow.  Remember that the “suggested” policy and procedures document provided by the Conference Task Force is filled with recommendations, NOT requirements, providing suggestions for meeting the conference’s minimum standards.  Every church’s procedures will be unique, based on the ministries they provide and the staff they have to carry them out.  One example of this is the varied requirements each church might have for which of their people must attend “Nuts and Bolts Safe Sanctuary” training. 

•                  What Training is the Conference Providing for Churches and How Do We Find Out When and Where?  The Conference Safe Sanctuary Task Force is now scheduling “Nuts and Bolts” training events throughout the Conference between now and the end of June, 2008.  These events will be three hours in length.  In addition, the Task Force is scheduling “Advanced Training Events” which will provide Nuts and Bolts training PLUS a “Training of Trainers” piece, which will certify people to go back to their local churches to provide Nuts and Bolts Training for their own folks.  At least one Advanced Training Event will be held in each District between now and the end of June.  The dates, places and times of both types of training events are being scheduled at this time, and details are being updated weekly on the Conference Website, and will be announced through the I-voice and through District e-mailings.

•                  Who Should and Should Not Attend These Events, and What Will They Teach?  Please note that the purpose of the “Nuts and Bolts Training Events” is to equip people who are doing weekly ministry with children, youth and vulnerable adults in practical “how-to” skills and knowledge.  These events are NOT designed to help your own Church Task Force develop their Policy and Procedures document.  There is a separate sub-committee of the Conference Task Force prepared to help you with that work.  That team is headed up by Rev. Craig Gommer.  Please contact him if your Task Force needs a consultation on developing your Policy and Procedures.  Once you are sure you want some of your week-to-week ministry people to receive training to provide a safer ministry for kids, send them to a Nuts and Bolts event!

•                  What is Expected of Pastors This Year?  The cabinet has said that there is a clear requirement that every pastor under appointment in the Wyoming Conference will attend a Safe Sanctuaries Nuts and Bolts training event (or an Advanced Course) by the end of 2008.  Pastors should simply plan to attend one sometime this year.  There will be at least two training events offered in each District in both the spring and the fall of 2008. 

•                  Need help with your church’s Safe Sanctuaries Policy? Contact Rev. Craig Gommer  at  [email protected].  Still have questions related to training?  Contact Matt Williams at [email protected].  Still have questions related to expectations for every church or pastor?  Contact Rev. Dave Masland at [email protected] .