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This coming month a group of eight leaders from across North America will be trained to become trainers of restorative practices by FaithCARE (Shalem Mental Health Network). The group consists of staff from Safe Church, Pastor Church Resources, Office of Social Justice, Disability Concerns, Faith Formation, and several leaders from a variety of CRC classes. The goal is not only to be trained to train others, but as future trainers, to dive deep into the heart of practices and ways we are with one another, so that we can be equipped and equip others to embody restoration as Christ’s Church. As I reflect on this, I look forward to exploring ways in which our churches can benefit from the integration of restorative conversations within their communities. I am thankful that we as Safe Church Ministry are able to do work of abuse awareness and prevention - and help facilitate renewal and restoration in our communities.

—Becky Jones, Editor

July Webinar Announced!

July 2022 Safe Church Webinar:
Step 3 - Training Leaders and Volunteers

Join us July 20th at 12 pm EDT for our 3rd webinar in our Safe Church Basics series. In this webinar, we look at ways to develop safe church training for our church communities. All church leaders and volunteers should know what constitutes abuse, how to spot it, and what is expected of them to prevent and respond to abuse well.

Register Here

FaithCARE Restorative Practices Training

On August 9-10th & 11-12th in Grand Rapids, Michigan there will be two opportunities to be trained in a two-day training of Restorative Practices for faith communities. In this training ministry leaders will be introduced to FaithCARE’s framework and vision for restorative congregations. Participants will learn how to design and facilitate listening circles while incorporating restorative practices to enrich interpersonal relationships, small groups, teams and congregational life. Learn more about Becoming a Restorative Church and a Restorative Congregation Cohort at or sign up for the training at this link.

May 2022 Safe Church Webinar:
Step 2 Making and Revising Policy

On May 18th we hosted our 2nd webinar in our Safe Church Basics series. In this webinar, Safe Church Ministry highlighted common myths hidden within many abuse prevention policies, shared a new model policy, and heard from other leaders about ways they have navigated the task of revising and making policies. This webinar was recorded and we encourage you to share it with your safe church community.

View Recording Here

Model Policy Released!

Safe Church Policy Round-Up

Safe Church is excited to release our much anticipated model Safe Church policy! This policy is designed to be a template as you develop your own safe church policy. Along with this policy, we are also including two other policies: the Safe Campus Policy developed with Resonate Campus Ministry as well as a Mentoring Relationship Safe Church Policy that was developed with Generation Spark.

Access Policies Here

Join Us At Inspire 2022!

Safe Church Ministry at Inspire 2022 -
Pre-conference and Workshop Descriptions

Join us at Inspire 2022, set to happen in Tinley Park
(a suburb of Chicago, Illinois) from August 4-6, 2022.

On August 4th we will have our Safe Church pre conference
on Being a Safe Church for Ministry Leaders with 2 tracks to choose from:

Abuse of Power Training for Ministry Leaders

Restorative Practices Training: An Introduction to Using
Restorative Circles Effectively

On August 5th we will host the following workshops:

Is Your Church Safe?

Active Bystander Training

The ACE Study: Implications for Ministry

Restorative Circle Practices: Ways to Live
Restoratively in a World Falling Apart

Safe Church Ministry Pre-Inspire Conference, August 4th

Register Today!

Monthly Update

Abuse of Power

Last week, the Synod of the Christian Reformed Church met at Calvin University for the first time in three years. The two volume, 1700+ page agenda included many weighty matters, including some pertaining to strengthening prevention and response to abuse of power by ministry leaders. One proposal that synod approved was a revision to both the Advisory Panel Process and the Appeals process in cases of abuse. Among other things, the proposal; included:

  • Providing a definition of emotional abuse, expanding the kinds of abuse by ministry leaders which the church is encouraged to assess and address through the advisory panel process;
  • A requirement for councils to call the church visitors in to provide the council support, accountability, and encouragement as they respond to allegations of abuse by a ministry leader;
  • Requiring a 60-minute training for the church visitors and councils who are dealing with situations of abuse by a ministry leaders on abuse, its impact, and the process for handling abuse allegations well;
  • Providing criteria for when to make use of an independent investigator;
  • Incorporating greater measures of education, accountability, and care for those affected by abuse when the decision of a council regarding allegations are appealed to classis.

These revisions are a response to a set of overtures submitted by Judy DeWit that came before the COD in 2021. The revisions bring greater clarity, accountability, care, and ownership of the process for responding to abuse allegations when a church leader is involved. While it will take Safe Church a couple of months to implement the changes, we are grateful for the commitment of the denomination to strengthen its response to abuse.

A second proposal impacting the work of Safe Church Ministry was the implementation plan for the Code of Conduct. A majority report from the advisory committee recommended tabling the proposal for implementation of the Code of Conduct in order to give classes opportunity for study and input. A revised proposal will be brought back to Synod next year. This recommendation was passed by Synod. While the denomination-wide implementation plan is postponed, churches and classes are welcome and encouraged to implement the Code of Conduct in their own communities. Some suggestions for doing this include:

  • Having ministry leaders sign the Code of Conduct;
  • Including it in the church’s safe church policy and training; and
  • Reading through it and reflecting on it annually as a council.

The Code of Conduct can be found on the website where it is posted in English, Spanish, and Korean.

Finally, Synod approved the names of five nominees for the Dignity Team. The formation of a Dignity Team was proposed to Synod by the Addressing Abuse of Power Committee in 2019 and fleshed out by the Ad Hoc committee that reported to the COD in 2021. Over the past year, the Safe Church office has been working hard to find the right people to populate this team that is commissioned with the task of addressing abuses and misconduct in the denomination that fall outside the mandates of Safe Church and Pastor Church Relations. The team will use informal, nimble ways of addressing situations, facilitating restorative conversations and using mediation to bring about repentance when wrong has been done, justice and healing for those who have been impacted, and restoration for all. The hope is that the Dignity Team will help us as a denomination become more Christlike in the ways we treat each other, nurturing a culture of dignity and respect.

The 5 people who have been approved by Synod to serve on the Dignity Team are Mrs. Sherry Fakkema, Rev. Carel Geleynse, Dr. Lee Hollaar, Rev. Sheila Holmes, and Rev. Cecil Van Niejenhuis. We are so thankful for the willingness of each of these nominees to serve the denomination in this way.  They bring a plethora of gifts, expertise, and graces to their role. To read more about the Dignity Team and each of the candidates, click here.

In the next couple of months, Safe Church will be working with the Dignity Team to establish an easy and accessible intake process for those who want to report a situation. In the meantime, the Dignity Team can be reached at

One day, Christ will return to establish a kingdom 
where there will be no more tears or heartache or reason to fear, 
where threats of harm, violence, manipulation, and bullying will cease, 
where justice, truth, and goodness will prevail, 
and where every person, 
regardless of gender, age, color, nationality, or ability, 
will be seen, valued, and loved.

You can help us lean into this hope today.

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This monthly e-newsletter is a ministry of Christian Reformed Church in North America.

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