Safe Church at St. John’s Long Form
Safe Church at St. John’s. For some twenty-five years now the Episcopal Diocese of Connecticut and St. John’s Episcopal Church have been committed to Safe Church standards and practices aiming to ensure the safety of our children and vulnerable elders in the context of Church programs and activities. As this new program year begins, it is important to remind everyone of these standards, policies, and practices.
- Education and training. All staff members, clergy and lay, are required to receive thorough background checks and extensive Safe Church training, renewed periodically, and to conform to and implement Safe Church practices, policies, and standards. Lay volunteers who work regularly with children and youth are also required to receive background checks and Safe Church training. This training is to be renewed every three years. Vestry members and volunteers—indeed all parishioners—are strongly encouraged to attend Safe Church education sessions that are held periodically at locations around the diocese. These sessions are announced in weekly diocesan e-letters and posted on the diocesan web site, episcopalct.org. Attendance is cost-free. Please call Margaret in the church office to schedule your attendance.
- Two-adults rule. A critical component of Safe Church practice is the requirement that a child is never left alone, and that two unrelated adults be present with a child or children unaccompanied by a parent or guardian.
- This policy clearly requires parental cooperation. For example, two adults must be present in Church School classes, at youth events, at choir rehearsals or music lessons. This policy also gives parents a rich opportunity to witness the wonderful education that children experience here and to support their child’s participation, even as it gives them assurance regarding the safety of their child.
- Younger children who need to use the restroom during services should be accompanied by a parent.
- The Church School teachers, youth ministry leaders, the choir leaders and other program staff and volunteers must ensure that the two-adult policy is implemented; parents are urged to help simply by being present when requested.
- Parents are requested to drop off and pick up children in a timely manner, and never to leave children unsupervised on campus.
- Lay Eucharistic Visitors go in pairs to take Communion to adults who may be regarded as vulnerable and will be home alone.
- Open door policy. Gatherings and meetings take place behind open doors, or doors with glass panels or windows; private meetings with a child or children are not permitted. Parents are welcome to observe any meeting at any time.
- All parishioners are requested to be alert and help ensure the safety of our children and vulnerable elders. Notify a church-warden or the Rector of any situation that seems to warrant attention.
- The rector is available to answer questions about these policies and practices and to address concerns that you may have.The aim in all of this is to ensure that participation in Church programs and activities is safe for everyone, so that this Church can reflect as completely as possible the peace, security, and serenity of God’s eternal realm.