Safe Church

Safe Church

In our Baptismal Covenant, we promise to respect the dignity of every human being. One way that we live out that value in ECMN is through the implementation of our Safe Church Policies. 

Our Safe Church Policies establish and maintain standards intended to ensure that our faith communities are safe places where all of God’s people are loved and encouraged to grow into the people God calls us to be. These policies provide specific recommendations, best practices, and guidelines that seek to protect children, youth, and vulnerable adults.

Safe Church Trainings

ECMN offers three tiers of Safe Church training, required for individuals with different levels of responsibility. To see upcoming Safe Church trainings or to learn how to complete them, please click here.

Tier 1. Universal Training

Summary: All faith communities are required to annually make Tier I training available to all members. Tier I training offers a broad overview of all Safe Church Policy documents through community conversation, with attention to the issues they address regarding vulnerability, power, and healthy boundaries. From here, specific church leaders are required to go further and take more specialized training (Tiers II and III). Each faith community is empowered to deliver Tier I content in whatever medium suits their context best. Some examples include: an adult forum PowerPoint presentation, email communications with links, a clergy or trainer-led video announcement, or all of the above. Above all, this is a moment for the leadership of your faith community to share internally about its approach and commitment to Safe Church policies and practices. See here for a suggested overview of Tier I content. 

Tier 2. Safe Church for God’s Children

Summary: Tier Two is a three-hour foundational training for anyone who has access to facilities and/or is in ministry with children, youth, or vulnerable adults. Tier Two is required for all staff, clergy, and vestry members, those who have access to facilities, decision makers, and all leaders in ministry with children, youth, or vulnerable adults. 

Tier 3. Safe Church for God’s People

Summary: Tier Three is a three-hour training for lay staff and clergy, who are involved in managing ministries for youth and adults alike. It discusses the power dynamics present in pastoral relationships and how to prevent inappropriate behaviors. These inappropriate behaviors include abuse, harassment, or exploitation this is either physical, verbal, or sexual. Tier 3 is required for all paid staff, clergy, spiritual directors, lay eucharistic ministers, vestry members, and any other volunteer leaders involved in overseeing or leading pastoral care ministries for adults.

Background Checks

Everyone who is required to take Tier 2 and 3 training is also required to pass a background check every three years. ECMN can provide support in completing background checks for staff and volunteers. Find the Informed Consent for Background Check form and relevant information here.

Requirements of Faith Communities

Step 1: Formally adopt Safe Church Policies at a Vestry, Bishop’s Committee, or Board of Directors meeting and record the text of the policies in the minutes. Review and reaffirm your adoption of these policies annually and record it in the meeting minutes.

Step 2: Ensure adequate documentation for previously Safe Church-trained individuals (who have been trained in the last three years). Email safechurch@episcopalmn.org with questions.

Step 3: Establish a practice for determining who needs renewal and has past the three-year training window. One way to do this is to go into the online safeguarding database, download a spreadsheet of the entire faith community organization, and sort by training date.

Step 4: Identify those in your faith community who need to be Safe Church trained (Appendix C).

Step 5: Attend a live Zoom training. Trainings can be found on the Events page

Relevant Statutes

https://www.revisor.mn.gov/statutes/?id=148A

https://www.revisor.mn.gov/statutes/?id=626.557

https://www.revisor.mn.gov/statutes/?id=626.556

Have Safe Church questions?

Gretchen Beck, program administrator, can help!

A blond woman smiles, wearing an orange blouse and standing in front of a brightly painted mural. A blond woman smiles, wearing an orange blouse and standing in front of a brightly painted mural.

Gretchen Beck

School for Formation Interim Co-Manager & Program Administrator