Safe Church Ministry  |  January 2019
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Safe Church Welcomes 2019

A new year is a good time to reflect on the past year, to look ahead, and to set goals for the future. 2018 was a busy and productive year for Safe Church Ministry. There were many highlights:

  • We welcomed a new ten hour per week  staff member in Canada, Miriam Spies!
  • We successfully hosted a bi-national conference with about 90 people from 26 different classes attending;
  • we created new resources, Responding to Abuse: A toolkit for Churches and a new promotional video for Circle of Grace;
  • we created a new fund to support grants for the position of a safe church classis coordinator.
  • Safe Church received a lot of attention at Synod 2018; this resulted in positive actions, including new data related to Safe Church as a part of the annual yearbook survey, and a study committee reviewing abuse of power (misuse of positional power can provide a context for abuse).

In light of all these positive things, we still have a long way to go. There are CRC congregations that still don’t see the need for a safe church or abuse prevention policy. Only one fourth of our classes report having a safe church team. And there are many people attending our churches each week who are suffering, who have experienced abuse and feel alone with no place to turn. We will work hard; and we will pray that the Lord would add his blessings to our efforts in 2019! We hope that you will also take some time to reflect and to find new ways to join with us in our work of equipping congregations in abuse awareness, prevention and response. A good place to begin is by reading your Safe Church newsletter each time it comes.

 THANK YOU! for all that you do. Safe Church depends on people like you.

Let’s Dream Together

Safe Church team leaders were asked to dream and share their vision for what Safe Church could look like in their own classis or congregation. Here are a few of their dreams. Come, dream with us. And if a mini-grant could help your dreams come true, remember, the deadline is January 15!

How Does your Church Screen Staff and Volunteers?

We would love to hear more ways that our churches are running background checks. What background screening service do you, or your church, use? Are you satisfied? Do you recommend their screening services? In addition, this network article shares a small preview of our upcoming toolkit to assist congregations as they update their policies. Good policies are an important first step in abuse prevention.

SOS: Silence Hides Violence - A Story of Domestic Abuse

We continue to share and to seek stories that can help us understand the experience of abuse through our network series, SOS: Sharing our Stories. This heartbreaking story from Nancy Boelens, also reveals the redeeming power of our Lord to offer strength and resilience in even the most difficult times. What are the lessons for us in these powerful stories?

Partners In Prevention: PreventConnect

Thankfully, CRC Safe Church Ministry is not the only organization working to prevent and respond to abuse. In addition to this section in our Newsletter, we have begun a new series on the Network to highlight expertise and resources that can assist us. PreventConnect is one of those. PreventConnect offers free webinars. Linda Crockett, a keynote speaker at our 2016 Safe Church Conference is one of the presenters in several of their webinars. It would be foolish for us not to take advantage of opportunities like this, right?


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