Faith Alive United Methodist Church
Saturday, July 22, 2017
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Committing to making Faith Alive a “Safe” facility!
 
Click here to volunteer                                                                           Safe Sanctuary Policy/Statement
 
             Did you know that, on average, child abuse is reported somewhere in the United States every 10 seconds. Three children die each day in the U.S. in the home from abuse! Child abuse is a real problem in this world today. While we like to think that it doesn’t exist, the real truth is that it does. There is no group of children who are immune from becoming a victim of child abuse or neglect. It doesn’t matter what race they are or what background they come from. Child abuse is not prejudiced!
            While this information is a sad unfortunate truth, we as Christians have a job to do. We may not be able to control what goes on outside of our own personal lives, but when it comes to our church, we can work as hard as we can to keep children safe while they are in our facility or involved in our church activities.
            We’ve all read stories at one time or another of child abuse in the church. These are horrendous stories of clergymen or volunteers abusing children or taking advantage of a vulnerable child. In most cases of abuse, the child knew the person that abused them. This person spent time with the child earning their trust before preying on them. While thoughts of any of this may make us want to wretch and cry, we can’t ignore the fact that it actually can happen and does.
            In a recent printout from the Megan’s Law Website, there are 40 names of pedophiles listed in Carbon County, 145 in Monroe County, 277 in Lehigh County, 197 in Northampton County and 188 in Schuylkill County. These are names of people who have been caught and are living in the same towns that we live in. Unfortunately, we have to face the reality that there may be more of these pedophiles out there that are looking for victims to prey on.
          I don’t know how you view the church. My view of the church is a place where we come to worship. I also see the church as a place to have fellowship with other believers and a place to learn more about our Lord and Savior. The one thing that we may not always think about is that every person who comes through those doors is not a Christian. Yes, we do have people genuinely coming here to seek after God, to come to know him more. We also need to be aware that there may be others here with different ulterior motives. I am not saying that we need to closely scrutinize every single person that walks through our doors. I am simply stating that, while we as Christians want to see the good in every one and we want to extend the forgiveness of Christ, we must also not be naïve. I want you to also remember that Faith Alive is a fairly large facility. It’s a house of the Lord with vision from the Lord that will continue to expand. There are already little nooks and crannies that you probably may not even be aware of in this building. We have a duty to God and a duty to the children and congregation here at Faith Alive to do everything we possibly can to keep abuse from happening in this facility. God’s house should be a place where you can come and feel comfortable and welcome. It should be a place where you can leave your troubles at the altar before God. It should also be a place where we should feel safe to bring our children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews and our children’s friends too. We should not have to worry that these kids may be abused while they are in God’s house!
          As important as it is to keep children safe, it isn’t only about them! Just for a moment, think about the damage that would be done to a child and his/her family should an incident of abuse occur. Now, think about the damage that would be done to an alleged perpetrator and their family. Realize what an incident of abuse could do to Faith Alive as a church. This is not the kind of attention we want for this church. Not only would our name be spread all over the news in a negative fashion, but there could be financial implications as well. The loss to all involved would be physically, emotionally and financially devastating!
          Safe Sanctuaries is committed to protecting Faith Alive from abuse. All of our volunteers and workers must have criminal background checks and child abuse history clearances before working with children. As you also know, Monitors are now patrolling this facility during both services and during Sunday School, making sure we have no one suspiciously roaming the halls or hanging out in these little nooks and crannies where they shouldn’t be. While everything we do cannot completely protect us 100% from this possible tragedy, they are in fact steps to help ensure that we are doing the best we can to keep the abuse out, but we still need your help! We need more people to commit to becoming Monitors. Being a Monitor is an easy job. All you have to do is patrol the church with a checklist and check in each room, closet and restroom to make sure there are no children left unattended. If you happen to come across any, you will direct them to their classroom or back to their parent in the Sanctuary. For the safety of the children, we will not allow any child to be wandering around without adult supervision. Parents, we ask that you respect the policy and keep your children with you in church and escort them to their class, nursery or children’s church and the restroom when needed. We are also asking all volunteers to make sure that all paperwork is completed and turned into the Safe Sanctuaries Committee for the file. We know that completing paperwork can sometimes feel like a hassle, but we really need you to commit to this cause and fully cooperate with us in this matter!
          In closing, thank you to those who are presently committed to Safe Sanctuaries—what a blessing to the body of Christ. If you’ve thought about becoming involved—please prayerfully consider your place to help make & keep Faith Alive a Safe Sanctuary for all.
In His Love,
Carla Hill,
Safe Sanctuaries Chair