Safe Sanctuaries Policy & Procedures

What is “Safe Sanctuaries”?

Safe Sanctuaries® is a “social structure that is consistent with the gospel” (¶122) allowing our sanctuaries, classrooms, mission encounters, camps and retreats, and all spaces where we gather to worship and serve God to be places of trust. The policies, guidelines, and procedures help us to live into our Baptismal Covenant:

  • Protect our children, youth, and vulnerable adults
  • Protect those who minister to and work with children, youth and vulnerable adults
  • Protect those in our care from physical, emotional, and spiritual harm
  • Honor those who God entrusts to our care

Our Policy

For Fairgrove United Methodist Church to continue to enjoy a safe and secure environment for the children, youth and leaders of our Church, we at Fairgrove United Methodist Church are implementing the following policy and procedures, otherwise known as “Safe Sanctuary Policy.” Please read the guidelines and complete a Volunteer Application if you are currently working or volunteering with our children or youth or anticipate working with them within the next six months.

Members and leaders are asked to complete a Volunteer Application form if you assist in the following areas: Sunday School for children and youth, youth group, youth retreats, youth lock-ins, Vacation Bible School, Confirmation classes, Kid’s Club, sports activities, mission trips with youth, service projects with youth, or serve as a substitute in any of these areas. It is important to note that this list is not exhaustive, but some of the areas that require a Volunteer Application.

Introduction & Purpose:

Fairgrove United Methodist Church in Reidsville, NC (hereafter referred to as the “Church“) remains fully committed to providing and maintaining a safe, nurturing environment for all children and youth under the age of eighteen (18) while in its care during events which are sponsored or co-sponsored by the Church. As a Christian community of faith, our Church must ensure that we conduct our ministry as provided in the biblical teachings, traditions and beliefs of the United Methodist Church.

Therefore, in keeping with the resolution adopted by the General Conference of the United Methodist Church in April 1996, and our Christian faith, our Church commits to this call and that call requires our Church to adopt and enforce this Safe Sanctuary Policy and its procedures (hereafter referred to as the “Policy“) on child protection and prevention of child abuse. While the primary reason for this policy is to protect our children and youth, it has been adopted to protect all who enter our doors.

We, the congregation of Fairgrove United Methodist Church, adopt the following Policy and its procedures, so as to provide a Safe Sanctuary for children and youth:


The following are the basic procedures and guidelines to ensure a safe physical, mental, spiritual, and emotional environment for our children and youth at our Church. This policy applies to all clergy, leaders, workers, volunteers, coaches and other persons (hereafter referred to as “Leaders“) who work with children in any paid or voluntary capacity. This includes any sponsored or co-sponsored events by the Church.

Youth” or “Child” shall be deemed synonymous and shall be defined as any person less than eighteen (18) years of age for the purposes of these procedures. “Adult” shall be defined as any person at least twenty-one (21) years of age for purposes of these procedures.

Supervision and Conduct:

1. All teachers and those who supervise directly or indirectly children/youth are required to be at least 18 years of age and a church member in good standing for at least six months. Exceptions may be made by the Administrative Board.

2. All teachers supervising children/youth must complete a volunteer application, including references, and be willing to submit to a criminal background check from local and, when appropriate, state and national law enforcement agencies. These background checks may be provided by local law enforcement agencies or by the use of an approved investigative agency. Effective 10/12/03, all paid employees of the church will be required to have a criminal background check. The Staff-Parish Relations Committee must check out all references for paid staff. The Administrative Board will review all applications and conduct any interviews necessary for the applicants. NOTE: Any information gathered will be kept confidential with restricted access. This highly secured task should be carefully assigned to a member in good standing with extremely high ethical values.

3. All Leaders will be required to attend Safe Sanctuary Training (hereafter referred to as “Training“) sessions regarding the care of and safety measures for working with children and youth. Any new applicants will be required to attend Training before they can begin working with our children and youth.

4. All Leaders of our Church must receive a copy of this Policy, read and be in agreement with this Policy, sign this policy, and affirm that they have never resigned or have been terminated from a position or leadership role for reasons related to misconduct. The Policy will be reviewed and signed annually. It is the responsibility of the Administrative Board of Fairgrove United Methodist Church to review the policy annually.

5. “Rule of two:” A minimum of two trained Adults/Leaders should be present for any church authorized, sponsored or co-sponsored program or event involving the children and/or youth. The two adults should be unrelated, unless there is a third adult with the group.

6. “The Buddy System:” We encourage parents, teachers, and leaders of anyone under the age of 18 to make sure the children or youth always have a “buddy” who is close to their age so that no child is ever alone while in the church buildings, or while on any activity, trip, or overnight function.

7. All classrooms or areas being used by children and youth should be fully open and visible or contain a glass panel or a half door to allow for outside monitoring. This glass panel must not be covered and should allow monitoring of all spaces within the classroom or area. In addition, one person must be designated as a “roamer” and should make unscheduled visits to check on all classrooms or areas. This person will be the Superintendent of Sunday School or a designee.

8. Prohibited conduct may include, but not be limited to the following:

  • Infliction of physically abusive behavior or bodily injury to a minor.
  • Physical neglect of a minor, including failure to adequate supervision.
  • Causing mental or emotional injury to a minor
  • Any display or demonstration of sexual activity, abuse, insinuation of abuse, or evidence of sexual conduct towards a protected minor.
  • Sexual advances or sexual activity of any kind between any adult and a protected minor, or between an older child and a younger child.
  • Carrying any type of weapon on Church property or Church sponsored or co-sponsored events, which might harm or injure a child or youth.
  • No use of, or being under the influence of, alcohol or drugs.

9. Appropriate demonstrations of affection or physical contact: Be careful when initiating a hug (unless there are other adults in the room; keep hugs brief; always be the one to end a hug; hug from the side rather than the front; never separate yourself from others in the group so that you are alone with a child or youth.

10. It is recommended that a parent or teacher accompany any child needing assistance to the restroom. When this is not possible the door to the restroom should be kept open or ajar with as much privacy as possible for the child.

11. Reporting Incident of Misconduct: The first Leader to learn of an incident of misconduct or abuse toward a child during a Church sponsored activity should immediately report this incident to the Pastor, the Sunday School Superintendent, or the Administrative Board Chairperson. They will seek professional advice as deemed necessary and will take appropriate steps to investigate the incident.

12. All children and youth activities:

  • All children, fifth grade and under must be with an adult or leader at all times.
  • It is necessary for permission slips to be signed and notarized for all groups and activities for all children and youth at our Church. The permission slips will include medical information in case of an emergency and will be maintained and readily accessible.
  • Parents will always be given advance notice and information regarding any activity in which their child or youth will be participating which deviates from the traditional classroom instruction offered at Church, during Sunday School class, or youth meetings.

13. Overnight youth retreats or mission trips: On all trips and overnight retreats, the leaders must be at least twenty-one (21) years of age. On an overnight retreat where there are both male and female youth, there must be both male and female counselors.

14. No youth may drive other youth to a church-sponsored event.

15. Insurance: The Church will provide insurance for their facilities.

16. The Church will maintain two first aid kits. One will be kept in the fellowship hall in the kitchen and the other in the kitchen of the main building.

17. The church will encourage taking a course for CPR/First Aid annually for Leaders. This course shall be from the American Red Cross or a similar organization.

18. In all the buildings, fire extinguishers will be placed and maintained.

In all our ministries with children and youth, the congregation at Fairgrove United Methodist Church is committed to demonstrating the love of Jesus Christ so that each person will be “surrounded by steadfast love, established in the faith, and confirmed and strengthened in the way that leads to life eternal.” (From Congregational Pledge 2 of the UMC Baptismal Covenant II).