December 20, 2014

Safe Church Policy

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Parkway United Church of Christ Guidelines

For Maintaining Healthy Relationships in the Church

STATEMENT OF POLICY

 

Prohibition of Sexual Exploitation and Harassment (see definitions)

Parkway United Church of Christ is committed to creating and maintaining a worship and work community in which members, friends, staff and volunteers can worship and work together in an atmosphere free of all forms of discrimination, harassment, exploitation or intimidation.  Specifically, all persons associated with Parkway United Church of Christ should be aware that the church is strongly opposed to sexual exploitation and harassment and that such behavior is prohibited by church policy.  It is the intention and responsibility of the church to take action to prevent and correct behavior which is contrary to this policy, and if necessary to discipline those persons who violate this policy.

Ministerial conduct (see definitions)

All persons engaged in the ministry of Parkway United Church of Christ are responsible for understanding the impact of their words and actions in ministering to the emotional, mental, and spiritual needs of persons who come to them for help or over whom they have authority.  Sexual harassment or sexual exploitation of parishioner(s) or other individual(s) by anyone engaged in the ministry of Parkway United Church of Christ is unethical and unprofessional behavior and will not be tolerated within this congregation.

Because ministers often deal with individuals who are emotionally and psychologically fragile or otherwise personally vulnerable, it is imperative that those engaged in the ministry of this church maintain their own psychological, emotional, and spiritual health and that they have adequate preparation and education for helping those individuals they seek to serve in ministry.  It is the policy of Parkway United Church of Christ to encourage its leaders, authorized ministers, employees, and volunteers to nurture safety within ministerial relationships by being attentive to self-care, education, and the importance of referring those in need to supportive and helpful resources.  It is also expected that all paid church staff will complete and submit a disclosure statement, and fill out a Missouri Department of Health Family Care Safety Registry Child Care and Elder Care Worker Registration Form.

Youth Protection Policy

Parkway United Church of Christ is committed to creating a safe and healthy environment in which young people can learn about and experience God’s love.  In order to ensure this, we expect that all people applying to be volunteers who work with minors will have been members or friends of Parkway United Church of Christ for at least three months.  It is the policy of the church to provide adequate supervision for all youth activities.  We also expect all who work with minors to complete and submit a disclosure statement, and fill out background check.

 

Photo and Personal Privacy Policy

Photos should generally not be taken of children in church except as part of organized activities and programs, and any requests of children or their parents or guardians should be respected.

Revised: January 2011

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Parkway United Church of Christ Guidelines

For Maintaining Healthy Relationships in the Church

DEFINITIONS AND EXPLANATIONS

 

Minister:  A person engaged by the church to carry out its ministry.  Minister includes elected or appointed leaders of the church, employees and volunteers as well as authorized ministers

 

Authorized Minister:  a person who holds ordained ministerial standing or has been commissioned or licensed by an Association of the United Church of Christ

 

Ministerial Relationship:  the relationship between one who carries out the ministry of the church and one being served by that ministry

 

Sexual Exploitation:  Sexual activity or contact (not limited to sexual intercourse) in which a minister engaged in the work of the church takes advantage of the vulnerability of a participant by causing or allowing the participant to engage in sexual behavior with the minister

 

Sexual Harassment:  repeated or coercive sexual advances toward another person contrary to his or her wishes.  It includes behavior directed at another person’s sexuality or sexual orientation with the intent of intimidating, humiliating or embarrassing the other person, or subjecting the person to public discrimination.  Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature constitute sexual harassment when:

a. Submission to conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition or circumstance of instruction, employment or participation in any church activity;

b. Submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as a basis for evaluation in making personnel or church related decisions affecting an individual; or

c. Such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s performance or participation in church activities or creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work or church environment.

Sexual harassment includes unsolicited and unwelcome contact that has sexual overtones; particularly:

  1. Written contact, such as sexually suggestive or obscene letters, notes, or invitations;
  2. Verbal contact, such as sexually suggestive or obscene comments, threats, slurs, epithets, jokes about gender-specific traits or sexual orientation, or sexual propositions;
  3. Physical contact, such as intentional touching, pinching, brushing against another’s body, impeding or blocking movement, assault, coercing sexual intercourse; and
  4. Visual Contact, such as leering or staring at another’s body, gesturing, displaying sexually suggestive objects or pictures, cartoons, posters, or magazines.

Sexual Harassment also includes continuing the expression of sexual interest after being informed directly that the interest is unwelcome- and the use of sexual behavior to control, influence, or affect the career, salary, work, education, or worship environment of another.  It is forbidden to suggest, threaten, or imply that a person’s job prospects, church leadership, or comfortable participation in the life of the church will be threatened by failure to accept a request for a date or sexual intimacy.  It is also forbidden to either imply or actually withhold support for an appointment, promotion or change of assignment; to suggest that a poor performance report will be given; or to hint that benefits such as promotions, favorable performance evaluations, favorable assigned duties or shifts, recommendations or reclassification will be forthcoming in exchange for sexual favors.

Revised:  August 2008