Living into our Baptismal Covenant, the Episcopal Diocese of Michigan, and its affiliated congregations, and other entities, strive for justice and peace among all people. The obligation to seek and serve Christ in all persons and to respect the dignity of every human being is binding for all the baptized. The authority with which leaders — ordained persons and adults who minister with children, youth, and vulnerable adults — are entrusted, creates an inherent power imbalance in the pastoral relationship. This power imbalance derives from the leadership role and, in the case of clergy, the symbolic authority of an ordained person. Christian leadership is intended to provide occasions for guidance and grace, and its abuse is always and unequivocally wrong.
The Episcopal Diocese of Michigan is committed to safeguard all of God’s children. As such it has adopted a policy Safe Church: Creating a Healthy Environment for Children, Youth, and Vulnerable Adults, revised 3/26/19, which demonstrates that commitment to creating a church environments safe from sexual, physical and/or personal abuse or exploitation.
The policy establishes the importance of providing training programs (supported by standards, guidelines, procedures and protocols) to create a safe environment for those to whom we minister, and for our own personal protection, The Diocese of Michigan acknowledges its responsibilities in providing these essential pro-active tools, and its duty to appropriately and lawfully comply with the investigation and reporting of any allegations, reports, or suspicions of any abuse by any representative of the Church, or by any other person with whom the representative(s) may interact in their ministry with the Church.
There are 3 Safe Church training programs recommended for those with varying degrees of authority over vulnerable members.
- TRACK 1 – An overview intended for church volunteers without supervisory responsibilities, acolytes, choir members, Eucharistic ministers, vergers, altar guild, Diocesan Convention delegates and parishioners who wish to be aware of the issues.
- TRACK 2 – A 3-hour, facilitator-led training (currently via Zoom) intended for church school teachers, youth group leaders, pastoral care teams, Vestry and Lay Eucharistic visitors.
- TRACK 3 – A 7-hour, facilitator-led training (currently via Zoom) intended for clergy, youth ministers, treasurers, wardens and lay employees or volunteers with supervisory responsibilities (e.g. directors of choir, acolytes, altar guild, religious education, church camps).
The St. Clare’s Vestry has recently set a 2021 goal to have additional church members Safe Church certified by the end of the year. If you completed Safe Church training more than 3 years ago or your role and/or duties supporting St. Clare’s operations indicate that you should take one of the Safe Church training tracks, please contact Maryjane or Linda Klimach to be scheduled.