Building the Continuum

Supporting Formation and Vocation in The Episcopal Church

Updating Safeguarding Materials

Updating the Safeguarding God’s Children and Safe Guarding God’s People materials.

Forma also affirms A074, a summons to update and supplement the curricular materials for in-person and digital training with the Safeguarding God’s Children and Safeguarding God’s People programs. This update should address the updated polices recommended in A073, and improve and correct (as needed) the instructional materials. This includes:

  • The training of trainers and diocesan administrators in light of the updates and supplements called for in A073, and we support that these updates be easily accessible in a digital format.
  • The urgent need to update training materials in areas such as social media and the LGBTQ concerns named above.
  • We recommend that an advisory committee of Safeguarding instructors, administrators, local formation leaders, and professional educators be assembled to consult with CPG for the updating of the Safeguarding materials; or that this be included in the scope of the advisory board called for in A073.

The prevention of misconduct, abuse and harm is of utmost importance as we strive to shape lifelong Christian faith and practice. We need exemplary policies that safeguard and training that equips the volunteers and professionals who offer their time and talent to these ministries. Policies and preparation that are in tune with the evolving issues of contextual ministry are critical to our call to strive for justice, peace and nurture human dignity. Help us safeguard the people we are called to serve in Christ’s name.

Share Forma’s Position Paper on A074 Resolution A074 Forma Positionwith your bishops and deputies.

A074: Update the Safeguarding Materials

Resolved, the House of _____ concurring, That the 78th General Convention direct that the Episcopal Church Center arrange for the updating or supplementing of written and web-based materials used in the Safeguarding God’s Children and the Safeguarding God’s People programs to reflect the experience of the Church in using the Safeguarding God’s Children and the Safeguarding God’s People materials; and to cover topics such as social media, mission trips, pilgrimages, camp and conference center programs, and other overnight events; and be it further

Resolved, That, in addition to developing printed and web-based versions of the updated or supplemented Safeguarding God’s Children and the Safeguarding God’s People materials, electronic links to the online versions of the Safeguarding God’s Children and the Safeguarding God’s People curricula be made available on The Episcopal Church website; and be it further

Resolved, That the Episcopal Church Center publicize the availability of the revised or supplemented written and web-based Safeguarding God’s Children and the Safeguarding God’s People materials to dioceses and congregations; and be it further

Resolved, That dioceses of The Episcopal Church be required annually to confirm, in writing or by email, to a designated office in the Episcopal Church Center that the diocese and (to the best of its knowledge after due inquiry) congregations in the diocese are training persons in positions of authority (including clergy, staff, vestry, children, and youth educators/leaders and other volunteers) by using the Safeguarding God’s Children and the Safeguarding God’s People materials or other appropriate materials for this training; and be it further

Resolved, That after the written and web-based Safeguarding God’s Children and the Safeguarding God’s People curricula are revised or supplemented, re-training of trainers be conducted so that the persons conducting training in congregations and dioceses are fully aware of the changes in the training materials and are able to teach them competently; and be it further

Resolved, That the 78th General Convention request the Joint Standing Committee on Program, Budget, and Finance to consider a budget allocation of $50,000 for the implementation of this resolution.

Explanation

The Safeguarding God’s Children and the Safeguarding God’s People materials were prepared more than 10 years ago. Since then, there have been many new developments in both communications and ministry. The continued use of outdated policies and practices may well be dangerous to God’s people and to The Episcopal Church.

Accordingly, the Commission urges General Convention to require updating or supplementing the written and web-based Safeguarding God’s Children, such as those at http://www.safeguardingonline.org (password required) and the Safeguarding God’s People materials to reflect the experience of the Church, and its dioceses and congregations, in using these materials; and to cover such matters as social media, mission trips, pilgrimages, camp and conference center programs, and other overnight events. This updating work may well be outsourced to the Church Insurance Agency Corporation (an affiliate of Church Pension Group) and should be performed under the overall supervision of appropriate staff at the Episcopal Church Center.

Some of this updating and supplemental work has been done by dioceses. The program of the Diocese of California may be found at Safe Church as well as its Social Media Guidelines. The Episcopal Church in Connecticut has Guidelines for the use of Social Media. The Diocese of Texas has Safeguarding Policy on Social Media. These three policies give those revising or supplementing the Safeguarding God’s People materials and the other materials a “running start” in their updating and supplementing efforts.

In addition, we urge General Convention to require all dioceses to confirm to the Episcopal Church Center that the dioceses and their congregations are implementing the Safeguarding God’s Children and the Safeguarding God’s People programs or other comparable programs to protect children, youth, and others from abuse from persons in positions of authority. We do not urge that dioceses be required to report on how they are implementing the Safeguarding God’s Children and the Safeguarding God’s People (or similar) programs, but merely that they are implementing them.

We consider these recommendations a very high priority both to prevent harm to any of God’s people and to reduce the potential for legal and other claims against The Episcopal Church, dioceses, and congregations for failing to take appropriate steps to protect others. Funds allocated for this updating and training work are an investment against harm to God’s people and potential claims against The Episcopal Church and its dioceses and congregations.

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  1. Pingback: Spread the Word with an Elevator Speech | Building the Continuum

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