Safe Church Training and Resources
Relationships are the foundation of Christian ministry and central to the life of the church. When Jesus said, “Let the little children come,” we are confident that they, along with crowds and others close to him, felt included, unafraid, and transformed in God’s love. In The Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth, we pledge by our baptismal vows to “…strive for justice and peace among all people, and respect the dignity of every human being”.
Relationships in ministry should be experienced as caring and without intention to harm or allow harm to occur. Whether you are a lay eucharistic visitor, teacher, or rector of the parish, your desire to care for others puts you in situations requiring awareness and practice of healthy boundaries.
Training resources are now available to help clergy, lay employees, vestry members, teachers, and other volunteers understand their responsibility to protect children, elders, and other dependent persons. Think of “safeguarding” as a foundation for doing ministry.
Safeguarding All the Children of God is introduced in three face-to-face classes:
- Safeguarding God’s Children introduces awareness and monitoring of behaviors and interactions with children that may be harmful or abusive. This course is required for all who work with children, all wardens, and all employees. This course is recommended for all vestry members.
- Safeguarding God’s People: Preventing Sexual Exploitation seeks to prevent anyone forming a sexual relationship through a pastoral relationship. This course is required for all who work with vulnerable populations of adults (the elderly, the infirm, and those with disabilities), all wardens, and all employees. It is recommended for all vestry members.
- Safeguarding God’s People: Preventing Sexual Harassment provides guidelines for preventing unwelcome sexual advances or requests for sexual favors. This course is required for all wardens, all congregational leaders involved with hiring and finances, and all employees. This course is recommended for all vestry members or any leader of influence (e.g. ministry team leaders).
The Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth is also set up now to offer Safeguarding Online. Read about how Safeguarding Online came about and the amount of engagement in it across the church so far.
Once a person has taken two in-person training courses (whether two of the same course or two different courses), that person will be eligible to renew and take other courses online. To access the Safeguarding Online courses, you will need to have a user name. Contact the diocesan office if you are unsure whether you have a user name yet or not.
Safe Church Policy in the Diocese of Fort Worth
Learning from others who take Safeguarding training deepens your understanding. Refresher or re-certification classes can help. These are face-to-face the second time you take a class. On-line training is available for additional re-certification. When you protect one life, you make a positive difference – maybe for generations!
For more information, refer to the diocesan Safeguarding policy, “Toward Healthy Ministry: Protecting God’s People From Abuse”, or contact the Rev. Canon Janet Waggoner, through the diocesan office at email@example.com or 817-534-1900.