As Christians we are the Body of Christ. The Church is the visible symbol of that Body in the world. As the visible and material reality of that Body, we strive to make it as safe as we can for all who come to it for comfort and nourishment. The Church will only be safe if that is true for its most vulnerable members. This can include people of all ages, but it most especially relates to children and youth. Christ teaches us that the children among us are to be welcomed and cared for; they possess a crucial openness and trust which serves as an example for all of us-they model for us an entry into life in the kingdom (Matthew 18:3-4).
Also, with the thankful rise of the “#metoo” movement, exposing the pervasive and far too accepted presence of sexual harassment and boundary issues, it has been painfully revealed that our Church is not at all exempt.
The unfortunate reality of our lives today is that we must be ever-vigilant and intentional in making our church communities safe for the most vulnerable among us, and to guard and protect those who might be subject to the abuse of power and authority as well. For this reason, the Diocese of Olympia instituted almost ten years ago a requirement for both the Safeguarding God’s Children curriculum and background checks for all those who work with children, have responsibility for the preparation of children’s ministries, or are in proximity to children at the church at any time. Additionally, the same requirement now exists for the sexual harassment in the workplace curriculum known as Safeguarding God’s People.
In an effort to make these requirements more accessible across the Diocese, we have enacted the following policy, effective September 18, 2018.
The renewal training for Safeguarding God’s Children and for Safeguarding God’s People MAY be taken online if the original training was done after 2009. If this is a first time training for either program, it is recommended that the training is taken in person. If one is not able to attend an in-person training, it will be possible to take this online but there will be a secondary training component added to this for compliance purposes. Whether taken in person or online, Safeguarding God’s Children and People is still required for all canonically resident and licensed clergy. Safeguarding God’s Children is still required for non-clergy who have a key to the church facility, vestry and bishop committee members, church staff, and anyone who works with children in any capacity. Safeguarding God’s People is still required for non-clergy who have a key to the church facility, vestry and bishop committee members, church staff, and eucharistic visitors.
- To find out when your Safeguarding certification(s) expire, you may contact the front desk of the Office of the Bishop at 206-325-4200 or email@example.com.
- For a list of upcoming trainings, click here.
- To request online access to either or both of the trainings, please fill out this form.
I give thanks for you and your commitment in taking this course and, by so doing, moving us closer to our goal of a truly safe church for all.