Assembly Mennonite Church
With Mennonite Church USA, Central District Conference and consistent with our commitments in the Privileges of the Child, Assembly Mennonite Church covenants to be a safe place for all of God’s people. Given the preciousness of our children and youth and their potential vulnerability to abuse, we covenant for their safety and full participation in our community. Out of our commitment to love and care for all of God’s creation we make this covenant to our children, youth, adults, families and community. Over time we may modify or add to this covenant.
Commonly Accepted Principles of Healthy Boundaries and Safe Church
- Adults have more power than Children and Youth.
- Clergy have more power than people with whom they have a pastoral relationship.
We covenant to:
- Provide a six-month period in which we commit to getting to know new members and attendees before asking them to teach Sunday school, supervise childcare, or participate on the elder care team.
- Provide a one year period in which we commit to getting to know new members and attendees before asking them to be a mentor, junior youth leader or youth coordinator. As adults with high responsibility and the opportunity to be one on one with children we will require a criminal background check every four years.
- Abide by the two-adult rule: two approved adults will be present during any church activity involving minors. Preferably these adults would not be related. Mentors with completed background checks do not need to follow this rule.
- Ensure that any person under 18 who works with children and/or youth is supervised by or paired with someone older than 21.
- Provide a safe space by requiring that all Sunday School classrooms and offices have windows in the doors.
- Cultivate an “open door” culture in which parents are encouraged at any time to drop-in and observe or participate in activities.
- Use a Church Nursery sign in procedure to clearly identify who is responsible for the child and who the child is being released to.
- Provide a public setting when possible for one-to-one interactions or pastoral contacts, especially with youth. When an office or private meeting is most appropriate, the door will remain open, the meeting will take place in a room where the individuals are visible through a window in the door, or others will be informed in advance of the meeting.
- Use appropriate discipline and expressions of affection.
- Use of appropriate hugs and touches that are reassuring or comforting.
- Use warm, caring verbal comments, not demeaning or blaming comments, verbal put downs or corporal punishment.
- Provide an annual training for all adults in the congregation regarding this policy. Provide an annual information and education for children that is age appropriate and helps them to understand boundaries and respectful relationships.
- Report incidents of abuse to the state authorities such as police and/or children’s services. See Appendix 1 for information.
- Follow the recommendations of the Digital Communications policy.
- Ensure that all those working with children sign a Memo of Understanding annually (see below).
- Monitor our implementation of this Covenant. The Christian Education Committee will provide oversight for implementation of this Covenant, assessing compliance and reporting to the Leadership Group yearly.