As a body of Christ, Murphy First UMC is committed to providing a safe environment for children and youth to come and grow in Christ. The church provides a staffed nursery during worship services and offers several programs for children and youth through the school year. For parents with small children, we have reserved 2 parking spaces for your use in front of the Education Building, close to the nursery. To insure that we provide the safest possible environment, the church has adopted the following Safe Sanctuary Policy and Procedures.
SAFE SANCTUARY YOUTH/CHILD ABUSE PREVENTION POLICY
First United Methodist Church – Murphy, NC
In keeping with the resolution adopted by the General Conference of the United Methodist Church in April 1996, and in accordance with its Biblical teachings, traditions, and beliefs, we, the congregation of First United Methodist Church, Murphy, NC, in Covenant with all United Methodist congregations, adopt this policy for the prevention of abuse of youth/children in our church.
Our congregation’s purpose for establishing this Youth/Child Abuse Prevention Policy and accompanying procedures is to demonstrate our absolute and unwavering commitment to the physical safety and spiritual growth of all our youth/children.
STATEMENT OF COVENANT
As a Christian community of faith, First United Methodist Church pledges to conduct the ministry of the gospel in ways that assure the safety and spiritual growth of all our children and youth as well as all of the workers with children and youth. We will follow reasonable safety measures in the selection and recruitment of workers; we will implement prudent operational procedures in all programs and events we will educate our workers with children and youth regarding the use of appropriate policies and methods (including first aid and methods of discipline); we will have a clearly defined procedure for reporting a suspected incident of abuse that conforms to the requirements of state law; and we will be prepared to respond to media inquiries if an incident occurs.
In all our ministries with youth/children, this congregation is committed to demonstrating the love of Jesus Christ so that each youth/child will be “surrounded by steadfast love,…established in the faith, and confirmed and strengthened in the way that leads to life eternal” (from “Congregational Pledge 2,” “Baptismal Covenant II,” in The United Methodist Hymnal, page 44.)
SAFE SANCTUARIES FOR CHILDREN AND YOUTH
BASIC ESSENTIAL OPERATING PROCEDURES
First United Methodist Church – Murphy, NC
- IMPLEMENT A POLICY FOR RECRUITING SCREENING, HIRING, AND REGULAR TRAINING YOUTH/CHILDREN’S STAFF AND VOLUNTEER WORKERS: Criminal background checks, as well as previous employment and references will be checked for those in supervisory capacities with children/youth, including but not limited to paid staff.
- TWO ADULTS: Two unrelated adults will be in the room at all times. No child or youth should be alone with one adult at any time.
- AGE LIMITS: Staff and volunteers should be at least 5 years older than the oldest youth/child being supervised. No one under the age of 18 should be given supervisory capacity.
- VISIBILITY IN ROOMS: Every room that is used for activities and teaching of youth/children should have a window in the door (or a half-door) that gives visibility to all areas of that room. The window should be left uncovered. If there is no window, the door should be left open at all times.
- OPEN DOOR COUNSELING: Pastoral counseling is expected to be confidential in nature, but it is for the protection of both parties that such sessions take place where other people are nearby even though not within listening distance. The pastor’s study should have a small glass window in it.
- ROVING MONITORS: In the event there are not 2 adults in the classroom, there should be a roving superintendent or monitor during the meeting or teaching time, and the classroom door should be left open.
- FIRST AID & CPR: At least one adult present at every church activity should be certified in basic first aid and CPR. The church should offer training annually.
- COMMUNICATION AND ADVANCE NOTICE TO PARENTS: Parents should be kept abreast of the programs their youth/children are involved in and be given advance notice and information regarding any activity which deviates from the traditional classroom instruction offered at the church during Sunday School, UMYF, Vacation Bible School, or other regular activities at the church. Permission forms with medical information should accompany youth/children for any activity involving travel or sports activity (skiing, etc.). If possible have a “safe sanctuary” training time for the parents and family of youth/children, with copies of the church policy available.
- AGE- AND ACTIVITY-APPROPRIATE EQUIPMENT: Examine the safety and appropriateness of the equipment in nurseries, classrooms, youth rooms, and play areas.
- MAINTAIN ADEQUATE LIABILITY INSURANCE COVERAGE for activities of the church family, both on and off the premises. Know what coverage the church has for sexual misconduct.
- DESIGNATED SPOKESPERSON: The church should have a designated spokesperson in case of an incident or allegation of abuse. A statement should be prepared before releasing any information to the press. Contact the District Superintendent and the WNC Conference Director of Communications for assistance (this should be done within 24 hours). All other persons at the church should refrain from speaking to the press.