Every congregation in the West Ohio Conference is expected to have a Safe Sanctuaries policy to protect the vulnerable children, youth and adults within their congregations and ministries, in order that they may have a safe space in which to experience the truth of God's love and grace.
In 2014, updated standards were implemented by West Ohio. Please make sure your policy abides by these standards for training and implementation. Having an outdated policy or one that is not followed is worse than having no policy at all.
We may say it will never happen here, but the stats say otherwise. Small and medium size churches are most at risk for abuse to occur because we think we know one another and are lax in our policies. The majority of churches nationwide who have been in litigation over the past five or so years have been over abuse allegations. Consider that when an abuse occurs, or even an allegation is presented, the ripple effect injures not only the victim, the perpetrator and their families, but it injures trust in congregations and communities. Then where is the safe space to live out the gospel?
Brothers and sisters in Christ, please take this responsibility seriously to care for the vulnerable in our midst in this way. Yes, it is a sad statement on the state of our world today that we must create such policies. But let us do so in an attitude of protection and grace, surrounded by prayer, caring for one another as God cares for us.
To access a host of resources from the West Ohio Conference to create, update, train and implement your policy, click here.