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Safe Church Ministry is the new name for the Office of Abuse Prevention. The mission remains the same: to create awareness of various forms of abuse against persons of all ages, to help churches reduce the risk of an incidence of abuse, and to help churches promote healing and restoration through a just and effective response to victims and offenders.

The emphasis of Safe Church Ministry is to support churches in developing and maintaining healthy interactions between adults and youths and between adults and other adults in the context of church programs and ministry. We offer education, training, resources, policies, protocols, and consultation services.

In addition, we train Classis Safe Church Teams to conduct the advisory panel process. We encourage these teams to help churches with educational opportunities; to provide support services to victims, offenders, and their families; and to act as advocates for the advisory panel process.

What’s New

Safe Church Ministry redesigned its website to showcase new and additional resources. New features to be added include a DVD for training volunteers, a PowerPoint presentation on bullying, and a devotional page.

Each year, on the last Sunday in September, churches have an opportunity to learn more about a certain aspect of abuse. This year, churches could, by ordering bulletin inserts, learn about elder abuse and the path to healing. Four bulletin inserts are available in a series intended to create awareness of abuse. In addition, small-fee booklets and no-fee booklets are available on the Safe Church Ministry and Faith Alive websites.

Classis Safe Church Team advocates met this year to learn how to assist an individual who brings forward an allegation of abuse to an advisory panel. Team chairpersons met again this fall. They learned more about restorative justice and shared best practices on conducting an advisory panel.

Faith Alive released a revised edition of Preventing Child Abuse: Creating a Safe Place. The book contains the denomination’s policy on child abuse and many new appendices on topics such as sexual harassment, bullying, and integrating a sexual offender into the church. The revised edition also includes a broader array of policies for the benefit of nonprofit organizations that serve the needs of youths.

Contact info:

Beth A. Swagman, director

Quick Facts

  • To date, 584 Christian Reformed churches report implementing a child safety policy.
  • Classis Central Plains became the newest classis to form a Safe Church Team.

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