Safe Church

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 lay and ordained leaders are entrusted in their ministry creates an inherent power imbalance in the relationship. This is particularly true for those working with children, youth, and vulnerable adults. 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.

Safe Church Model Policies are adopted in the General Convention of The Episcopal Church and are thus intended for The Episcopal Church as a whole. The Episcopal Church in Connecticut seeks to adhere to these Model Policies through our Safe Church Training program.

Our baptismal vocation is to restore all people to unity with God and each other in Christ. Unity, not uniformity. Unity where our differences are blessed, where we come together in the fullness of who we are. So being about creating a safe church is being about God’s mission in the world-to restore all of us to unity with God and each other in Christ.

The Rt. Rev. Ian T. Douglas, Bishop Diocesan

What is Safe Church Training?

ECCT’s Safe Church Training includes an online course followed by a 3-hour live session on Zoom. New online courses are designed to reflect whether you have previously participated in SCT, whether you currently have oversight responsibilities for events, programs, or others engaged in ministry, and ministerial roles. This training is grounded in our call to seek and serve Christ in all persons and respect the dignity of every human being. It offers an opportunity to increase and enhance our ability to live out our Baptismal Covenant within our communities of faith and in the world beyond.

Who should attend Safe Church Training?

Everyone in positions of oversight or who work with vulnerable populations including but not limited to wardens, vestry members and people who minister to children, youth, and vulnerable adults. Training shall be appropriate to each person’s function according to the Screening and Training Protocols of the Model Policies (Appendix A).

All leaders shall have Universal Training that fosters a culture of safety and inclusion for all people and covers a broad overview of issues of vulnerability, power, and healthy boundaries. Universal Training is designed to equip all people to live out their Baptismal Covenant. All members of the Episcopal Church shall have access to this training.

In addition to Universal Training, all supervisors and those with oversight responsibilities for ministry programs and/or other adults who engage in ministry with children, youth, and vulnerable adults shall have specialized training that is tailored to their role and ministry function.

Depending on role and responsibility, specialized training includes:

  • The prevention, identification, and response to all forms of abuse and neglect, including financial exploitation;
  • Mandated and voluntary reporting of suspected abuse, neglect, and exploitation of vulnerable adults;
  • Vulnerability within the pastoral relationship;
  • An introduction to the needs of gender non-binary persons;
  • The needs of aging LGBTQ+ individuals who often struggle to find care or residential facilities adequately equipped to meet their needs; and
  • The ways that vulnerable adults can engage in self-advocacy.

Certification of training shall be renewed every three years. Dioceses, congregations, and other organizations with responsibility for programs with, or services for ministries to children, youth, and vulnerable adults shall keep records sufficient to evidence compliance with this policy.

What is the process to register for Safe Church Training?

Registration for Safe Church Training is through Eventbrite and is limited to 20 participants. Registration closes one week before the scheduled session, or when capacity is reached.

Safe Church Training Next Steps

  • View upcoming Safe Church Training Zoom Follow-up dates and times and register online
  • Download and/or print ECCT’s Safe Church Training Resource Manual. A link to this resource is also included in your Eventbrite confirmation email.
  • Following the instructions given in the email sent to you from the Safe Church Administrator, access the online training course and complete the full training at least two days prior to your scheduled follow-up Zoom call.

Please Note: The running time for the modules within the online training course range from 1.25 hours to 3.5 hours. These modules do not have to be completed all at once; you can take breaks in between. The online course includes narration.