Welcome, Parents, Grandparents & Guardians!
We are grateful for your interest in our Safe Sanctuaries program and how it promotes a safe environment for your children or youth. You can review the purpose of our Safe Sanctuaries Program, access the LUMC Safe Sanctuaries policy, learn how Safe Sanctuaries procedures are incorporated into our ministry programs, see how you as Parents are integral to our Safe Sanctuaries processes, and get a glimpse of opportunities for your child(ren) and youth at LUMC.
Safe Sanctuaries Purpose Statement: We of the Lansing United Methodist Church cherish our call to be a place where all feel the love of God surrounding them. We cherish the pledge that we make at baptism:
“With God’s help we will so order our lives after the example of Christ, that this child, surrounded by steadfast love, may be established in the faith, and confirmed and strengthened in the way that leads to life eternal.”United Methodist Hymnal (1989), Congregational Pledge 2, p. 44
An essential part of that call and pledge is to ensure that our ministries protect our children, youth, and vulnerable adults from abuse and exploitation. Our congregation has adopted a Safe Sanctuaries Policy to demonstrate our absolute and unwavering commitment to the physical and emotional safety and spiritual growth of all participants in our ministries.
What You Need to Know:
Screening/Training. Staff and ministry partners (volunteers) who have regular and direct contact with children and youth participate in a screening process before taking on positions in children’s or youth ministries. The screening process begins with an application including identification, employment and volunteer history over the past five years, and authorization to conduct a criminal background check. Applicants provide three references who are contacted to ascertain an applicant’s ability and suitability for working with children or youth. Following successful completion of a criminal background check, a check of state and local child sex offender registries, and a personal interview with the Pastor, ministry supervisor, or a designated Safe Sanctuaries Team member, applicants may become eligible for selection to a ministry position with children or youth. Recurring criminal background checks are done every two years for those who have regular and direct contact with children or youth. Furthermore, adult ministry partners must demonstrate an active relationship with Lansing United Methodist Church for at least 6 months before being placed in a supervisory role in activities for children or youth.
Staff, ministry partners and clergy supervising gatherings involving children or youth must observe the “Two Adult Rule”, which provides that regardless of the size of the group, there will always be two unrelated adults present. This rule applies to videoconferencing or on-line gatherings as well. Adults must be at least 18 years old, not currently in high school, and at least 5 years older than the oldest minor present. Compliance with the “Two Adult Rule” may include the presence of an adult roamer who moves in and out of rooms or ministry activities. At least one of these two adults must be Safe Sanctuaries trained under Conference and District training requirements, which apply to all staff and ministry partners who have regular and direct contact with children or youth. Furthermore, staff and ministry partners participate in annual reviews of Safe Sanctuary policies and procedures as they apply to specific ministries or events.
All ministries will be conducted in an area with an open view, for example, with a window in the door, half-door configuration or open door. No child or youth will be left unsupervised while signed in-to a ministry program or event.
Position descriptions for each ministry partner role involving children and youth make it explicitly clear not to engage in physical punishment or discipline of any child.
Overnight gatherings. For youth retreats or special overnight events, youth will be chaperoned by adults of both genders in a ratio of adults to youth consistent with policies of the Camp and Retreat Ministries of the Upper New York Annual Conference. For retreats or overnight events, organizers will prepare a written plan for approval by the Pastor detailing how specific requirements for those events will be carried out. Groups will meet to review these plans and a participation covenant to establish behavior standards expected of all participants.
Transportation. For events away from the church, attendees must supply written permission forms signed by parents or guardian. Drivers for such events must be 21 years or older and provide a copy of current license and proof of insurance. For gatherings requiring more than one driver, cars will caravan to and from the event. If there are two or more cars travelling together, drivers are not required to be accompanied by another adult in the vehicle unless the number of passengers exceeds 7 children or youth or the distance driven exceeds 50 miles. In no case may the number of passengers in a vehicle exceed the number of seatbelts.
Your Role as a Parent/Guardian:
Registration forms must be filled out annually for children or youth participating ministry events or activities outside the direct supervision of a parent or guardian. It is essential for you to register your child(ren) and provide contact information by which you can be contacted while your child(ren) are at church.
Children ages 10 and under must be signed in and out of activities by parents, guardians, or a responsible adult who has been identified on the registration forms. The child must be accompanied to the location of the activity and signed in, at which time the teacher or ministry partner will begin supervisory responsibility. Youth may sign themselves in and out of ministry activities or events.
Parents should expect advance notice and full information regarding any event or activity in which their children will be participating. If for any reason there is an event in which an adult staff member or ministry partner will be alone with a child or youth, parents must be notified and give written permission for their child or youth’s participation (for example, to meet with a confirmation mentor in a public place). Parents will be provided permission forms for activities held outside the church where transportation is provided. Children and youth must have signed forms to be transported and participate in such activities.
Parent ministry partners are vital participants in our children’s and youth programs and activities. We encourage you to get involved in these ministries and the Children’s Ministry or Youth Ministry Teams, and the ministry supervisors will be glad to speak with you about these opportunities to volunteer, to include becoming trained in Safe Sanctuaries practices.
Reporting concerns. Should you witness an incident of abuse or exploitation or receive a report that concerns you from your child, you should personally report that incident or suspected abuse immediately in person or by phone to the ministry supervisor in charge of the program or the Pastor. Every such report will be taken seriously and follow a procedure outlined in the LUMC Safe Sanctuaries policy to report allegations to the pertinent authorities in child protective services.
Opportunities for Children & Youth at LUMC:
- Christian Education/Sunday School from 10:30 am – 11:30 pm (ages 3 – 12th grade)
- Vacation Bible School (3yrs old – entering 5th grade; 6th graders & up help lead VBS) For one week in July, LUMC and All Saints Church host Vacation Bible School. Daily activities include opening and closing gatherings filled with music; small crews rotating between three learning stations: imagination station, games, and Bible room; and a week-long mission project to share God’s love locally or internationally.
- Pancakes & Prayers (Grades 7-12) Weekly pancake breakfast before school where youth share joys and concerns and start their day with prayer together.
- Youth Group(s) – Jr High (Grades 7 & 8) High School (Grades 9-12) Weekly gatherings for fellowship and faith formation in an informal setting.
- Youth Missions (entering 8th-12th grade) Opportunity for youth and parents to engage in mission work in San Lucas Toliman, Guatemala, domestically and locally over the course of their high school years in conjunction with youth from All Saints Church.
- Casowasco Camp & Retreat Center (Lake Owasco) (ages 6-18 and Families) Each summer, Casowasco hosts Christian camp programs at their beautiful lakeside facility 30 minutes away from LUMC. A special youth retreat, Camp Echo, is also hosted over New Year’s Eve. LUMC has campership opportunities to help cover the costs of camp, and our LUMC children and youth have been enormously blessed by the ministry of Casowasco. Click here to learn more about Camp Casowasco.
- Milestone Ministries (confirmation, receiving Bibles, communion class and acolyte training—serving in worship)