Safe Sanctuary Policy
At Orchard Ridge United Church of Christ, we believe that our church should be a safe sanctuary for all those who come in good faith. Most importantly, it should be a safe sanctuary for the children and youth who are entrusted to us. The physical or sexual abuse of a child is a tragedy no matter where it occurs; it is especially so when it takes place in a house of God.
Abuse in a church is the ultimate violation of a sacred trust. We also acknowledge that the abuse of children is a reality, and that no church is immune from that reality. We want our congregation to be a haven, free of sexual misconduct or harassment.
To help reach these goals, we have adopted policies, procedures, and educational programs to reduce the possibility of child sexual or physical abuse, or any type of sexual misconduct or harassment from occurring in our congregation. For more details you can read our (lengthy!) Safe Sanctuary Policy.
Points worth highlighting:
- Workers such as teachers, youth group leaders and chaperones, and nursery care providers must undergo the primary screening procedure which includes reviewing this policy and going through a Criminal Records Background Check.
- Before volunteers become involved with the Educational and Youth programs, we ask that they have been a member or a regular attender of our church for at least six months, and that they: 1) attend a Safe Sanctuary workshop, and 2) attend a New Members Class. (Note—there is no obligation to become members; the purpose of attending this is for the volunteer to learn more about our church and for our church to learn more about the volunteer).
- No teacher, aide, or chaperone should place themselves in a compromising situation by being alone with a child or youth.
- On overnight functions, males and females are housed in separate sleeping quarters.
- Youth leaders, teachers, staff, and volunteers are asked to refrain from engaging in one-on-one messaging with youth and instead send group emails or texts, or CC a parent.