Safe Sanctuary: Guidelines for Ministry
First Congregational Church of Glen Ellyn, United Church of Christ is an open, diverse, intergenerational congregation of Christian people engaged in a continuing spiritual journey. We believe that there are many ways to experience and understand God. We invite everyone to join us in this search.
At baptism, this question is posed to the congregation: “Do you, who witness and celebrate this sacrament, promise your love, support and care to the one(s) about to be baptized, as he/she/they live and grow in Christ? And with all honesty and intention, "we promise our love, support and care.”
As adults, we promise to nurture our children in Christ. Providing this nurturance in a safe environment is part of our responsibility as disciples. Towards that end, the members of the First Congregational Church have adopted this policy on Safe Sanctuary prohibiting sexual misconduct and other forms of abusive behavior and establishing guidelines for volunteers who minister to children and youth. The intent of this policy is to prevent abusive behavior within our church and to correct such behavior should it occur.
Statement of Policy
A. Protection of Children and Youth
The First Congregational Church of Glen Ellyn, UCC takes seriously its responsibility to provide Christian education for its members in a safe environment. In order to maintain a safe environment, it is our policy to provide adequate supervision of all children and youth activities. Volunteers who work with children and/or youth must:
All church leaders, staff, and volunteers who work in any ministry within the church must follow guidelines in place to make our church a safe sanctuary for all children, youth, and adults engaged in our programs.
It should be noted that all clergy and staff have completed the same screening requirements as volunteers/leaders who work with children/youth. Clergy and staff have also undergone more rigorous background checks.
B. Volunteer Conduct
All persons engaged in the ministry of First Congregational Church are responsible for knowing the possible impact of their words and actions in ministering to the emotional, mental, and spiritual needs of persons who come to them for help or over whom they have any kind of authority.
Because volunteers and staff often deal with individuals who are emotionally and psychologically vulnerable, it is imperative that those engaged in the ministry model healthy behavior to children and youth. It is the policy of First Congregational Church to encourage its volunteers to nurture safety within ministerial relationships by being attentive to self-care, education, and the importance of referring those in need to supportive and helpful resources. Such resources and referrals are available through our Senior and Associate Pastors and program staff members.
C. Prohibition of Sexual Misconduct, Abuse and Other Discrimination
First Congregational Church of Glen Ellyn, UCC is committed to creating and maintaining a worship and work community in which members, friends, staff, and volunteers can work together in an atmosphere free of all forms of discrimination, harassment, abuse, exploitation, or intimidation. This church affirms its responsibility for creating an environment of hospitality for all persons, male or female, adult or child, which is free of sexual misconduct, free of physical and emotional abuse, and that encourages respect, equality, equity and kinship to Christ. We support equity among all persons regardless of ethnicity, situation, age, or gender.
Specifically, all persons associated with First Congregational Church of Glen Ellyn, UCC should be aware that the church is strongly opposed to sexual exploitation and harassment, and that such behavior is prohibited by church policy. It is the intention and responsibility of the church to take the action needed to prevent and correct behavior that is contrary to this policy and, if necessary, to discipline any person who violates this policy. Sexual harassment or sexual exploitation of members or other individuals by anyone engaged in the ministry of First Congregational Church is unethical and unprofessional behavior, and will not be tolerated within this congregation.
D. Review and Education
This policy was reviewed and approved by the Education Committee in January 2006. The Church Council also reviewed and approved adoption of this policy. The Education Committee will conduct periodic reviews of this policy at a minimum of every two years and make any changes it deems appropriate as a result of its review. Church Council approval will be obtained before implementing any changes the Education Committee makes to this policy in the future.
This church commits itself to educating all church leaders, employees and volunteers who work with minors in our children and youth programs and other ministries within our church on the provisions of our Safe Sanctuary Policy, so that they are aware of their responsibilities within the framework of this policy, the rationale behind the development of this policy and the applicable guidelines to be followed in ministry. A copy of this policy will be available for review in the Church office and library.
Volunteer/Leader: A person working and serving as part of the ministry of the church.
Program Staff: Paid staff whoes roles and responsibilities involve leading or supervising church programs (such as Music groups, Fellowship Groups, Educational classes, etc.)
Emotional Abuse: Involves verbal or non-verbal violence toward a child or other person that includes using harsh, abusive language meant to revile, malign or hurt someone.
Physical Abuse: Involves physical violence toward a child or other person, including any type of physical aggression directed at a child in anger, including corporal punishment.
Sexual Misconduct: Includes “sexual exploitation” and “sexual harassment” as defined in this policy.
Sexual Exploitation: This occurs when a person engaged in a ministerial relationship in the life or work of the church takes advantage of the emotional, psychological, or other vulnerability of another person within the ministerial relationship in order to engage in sexual behavior with the vulnerable person. Any form of sexual behavior between and adult and a child as well as any sexual conduct, including sexually suggestive advances, comments or actions, directed by an adult toward a child is sexual exploitation.
Sexual Harassment: This involves coercive or unwelcome sexual advances, request for sexual favors or other conduct of a sexual nature directed toward another person, and includes behavior directed at and about a person’s sexuality or sexual orientation with the intent of intimidating, humiliating or harassing the other person, or subjecting the person to public discrimination.
Sexual advances, requests for sexual favors and conduct of a sexual nature include:
Coercive sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature occur when:
Sexual advances, requests for sexual favors and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature are “unwelcome” when such conduct continues after being informed directly that such conduct is not desired by the person to whom it is directed.
It is impermissible to suggest, threaten or imply that a failure to accept a request for a date or sexual intimacy will affect a person’s job prospects, church leadership or comfortable participation in the life of the church or to hint that benefits, such as promotions, favorable performance evaluations, favorable assigned duties, recommendations or reclassifications, will be forthcoming in exchange for sexual favors.
Basic Guidelines for Ministry to Children and Youth
The following guidelines are important to the maintenance of a safe sanctuary for children and youth. First Congregational Church of Glen Ellyn expects volunteers to follow these guidelines as closely as reasonably possible. They are listed in no particular order.
Reporting and Complaint Response Procedures
First Congregational Church of Glen Ellyn, 535 Forest Ave., Glen Ellyn, IL 60137 (630) 469-3096 / Fax (630) 469-4195