FAQs for Safe Church Recertification (Mandatory Clergy Professional Development) - Required to be “Clergy in Good Standing”
Q: Who does this apply to?
A. . All ordained persons canonically resident in the Episcopal Church in Connecticut (ECCT), active and retired, including those living and/or licensed in another diocese, and all ordained persons canonically resident in another diocese who are licensed in ECCT, who desire to remain in "Good Standing."
Q: What’s required?
A. Several components, all in 2019:
(1) Attendance at one ECCT Mandatory Clergy Professional Development day (MCPD) in 2019. MCPD is offered in April, May, and June of 2019. If you can’t attend any of those you must attend the make-up session in September 2019. You must register online for any of these sessions. Registration for the make-up session opens after the June session.
(2) An updated public records background check. The fee for this is included in the online registration. Those registered for MCPD will receive an email link that allows you to consent to the background check. As an alternative, you can sign a paper consent when you arrive at MCPD. (This new requirement about updated public records background checks is mandated in the new Model Policies of The Episcopal Church, adopted by ECCT effective 1/1/2019.)
(3) Review ECCT Guidelines for Ordained Ministry. Those registered for MCPD will receive an email prior to the MCPD date with a link to the document and a request to read it in advance.
(4) Review of at least one of the new Model Policies, either those for the protection of children and youth, or those for the protection of vulnerable adults, or both. Those registered for MCPD will receive an email prior to the MCPD date with a link to the documents and request to read at least one in advance.
In addition, clergy attending MCPD in ECCT in 2019 are encouraged to view the new online Universal Safe Church Training.
NOTE 1: If you are inactive and never function liturgically:
If you are inactive and never function liturgically, then you may be excused from the MCPD training and recertification requirement. Permission to be excused must be requested in writing to Bishop Ian T. Douglas either by letter or email. Emails should be sent to Alison Hollo in the Office of the Episcopate at firstname.lastname@example.org.
NOTE 2: If you live out of state and are unable to attend MCPD in ECCT due to travel realities:
If you live outside the geographic boundaries of ECCT and are unable to attend one of the 2019 Mandatory Clergy Professional Development days due to travel realities, then you must complete the following requirements:
(1) Notify the Safe Church Training Administrator (“Administrator”) Deb Kenney that you will be participating in Safe Church Training Recertification in another diocese in 2019 by emailing your notice of the recertification to her at: email@example.com.
(2) Participate in a comprehensive Safe Church Training Recertification of another diocese as a substitute training, and send your certificate of that participation to the Administrator by November 1, 2019.
(3) Consent to and pay the $15 fee for an updated public records background check using a form the Administrator will provide by email, along with instructions;
(4) Review the Guidelines for Ordained Ministry; a link to the document will be emailed to you by the Administrator;
(5) Review at least one of ECCT’s Model Policies (either those for the protection of children and youth, or those for the protection of vulnerable adults, or both.) A link to both documents will be emailed to you by the Administrator;
(6) Complete the online Universal Safe Church training course; a link will be emailed to you by the Administrator;
(7) Complete an online form that you will receive by link in an email from the Administrator in which you will certify that you have completed and returned the consent form and the fee for the public record background check; reviewed the Guidelines for Ordained Ministry; and reviewed at least one of ECCT’s Model Policies. The online training course will track your participation.
GENERAL Q&As RELATED TO SAFE CHURCH TRAINING AND MANDATORY CLERGY PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT
Q: I just took my Safe Church training last year. Can I wait till the next recertification in 2021?
A: No, you need to slide into the ECCT clergy recertification schedule now.
(Live out of state and licensed there? You can send in your 2019 certificate of Safe Church Recertification in the diocese where you are licensed and residing. See “Note 2” above.)
Q: I am retired! Must I really do these things?
A: If you function liturgically as a priest, deacon, or bishop in any way, including the regular or infrequent, or even very, very occasional funeral, baptism, wedding, or celebration of the Holy Eucharist, then yes, you must.
Q: I am retired AND I now live out of state! Must I really do these things?
A: Same as above: If you function liturgically – at all – and you have resided in another diocese for more than 60 days you’ll need to be licensed in that diocese, and for that you’ll need to be in “Good Standing.”
Q: I’m a retired deacon living out of state, what about me?
A: The same applies: If you are serving liturgically at all, even once a year, you need to be licensed, and for that, you will need to be in “Good Standing.”
Q: I’m a retired bishop, what about me?
A: The same applies: If you are serving liturgically at all, even once a year, you need to be in “Good Standing.”
Q: Not only am I a retired priest, and out of state, but I’m only planning to (name one: officiate at the wedding of my granddaughter next summer; baptize a grandson; officiate at the funeral of a dear friend who doesn’t have long to live ...) Does it still apply?
A. Yep, it does.
Q: I didn’t find the Safe Church Training to be helpful last time. Why should I go this time?
A: It’s a requirement. ECCT staff does their best to present the required material in an interesting and relevant way, and efforts don’t always succeed with every person.
Q: I read the Q&A, but I don’t plan to comply. What happens if I don’t?
A: We will change your status in our database to indicate that you are not in “Good Standing.”
Q: What are the ramifications of not being in “Good Standing” anyhow?
A: If ECCT parish leaders, or a bishop of another diocese, ask for certification that you are a priest in “Good Standing” (for example, say you are seeking a parochial appointment/call in ECCT, or are seeking a license/permission to function liturgically in another diocese) then the ECCT Bishop Diocesan will not be able to report that you are a priest in Good Standing. This could jeopardize your appointment in ECCT and/or permission to function liturgically in another diocese.
Q: I have spent my whole life serving the Church. I am a good person. This is onerous. Where is your compassion for my circumstances?
A: Ordination vows were never meant to be negotiable. That’s why they are called “vows.” With the privilege of serving God through the Church comes the responsibility and promise to conform to the doctrine, discipline, and worship of The Episcopal Church.
Prepared by ECCT Canon for Mission Communication & Media Karin Hamilton, April 2019