Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful. — 1 Corinthians 4:2
Yesterday afternoon, I attended child protection training with three folks from the congregation I serve. We are in the process of crafting our child protection policy to become a Safe Haven congregation for children, youth, and vulnerable adults. It’s a critical part of our ministry, one we are not taking lightly.
The United Methodist Church down the street hosted this training for their conference and brought in a wonderful speaker/trainer. Since we share some ministries with them, including a community Vacation Bible School, the opportunity to be “on the same page” with them was great. One cannot take too seriously our charge to protect, love, and serve all of God’s children, and unfortunately faith communities have been too trusting in the past.
Safe Sanctuaries is the program used by the United Methodist Church. The book and training materials are written by Joy Melton, an attorney who is also ordained in the Methodist tradition. If your faith community does not have a policy in place to protect children, youth, and vulnerable adults, please consider how you might address this concern. Don’t wait until you have to respond to the worst possible scenario.
We are a small congregation with few children, but we take seriously our calling to offer a safe space for them to know, love, and serve their Creator. Children bring such a pure faith to our assemblies. They trust God, their parents, and the adults in their communities to help order their world, provide love and protection, and offer safe boundaries for their growth and development. In return, with something as simple as a smile, they bring light and hope to our days, reminding us that with God all things are, indeed, possible.
So give thanks for the children in your midst. Do all you can to keep them safe and be good stewards of this sacred trust. Show them the love of Christ and let them teach you about faith, hope, and love.