Safe Church is about Keeping Children Safe, but it is more than that. It is about protecting the vulnerable in our communities whatever their age. It is about responding to our legal obligations, but it is also about doing what is loving and right. Are you an ‘appointed leader/” Have you been to a Safe Church session since June 2017? All “appointed leaders” in the Uniting Church are required to have a Working with Children /Vulnerable People Check.
The Standing Committee of the Synod of Victoria and Tasmania has defined an appointed leader this way: Appointed leaders are people who are in a position of trust, influence or authority because of their leadership role within the Church. This would include, but not be limited to, lay preachers, elders, church councillors, worship leaders, anyone involved in children and youth events/ programs/activities, anyone commissioned by the Church Council to perform a leadership role, music leaders, organists, Bible study leaders, and ‘home group’ or ‘cell group’ leaders. (Synod Standing Committee Resolution 16.4.14)
Foundations of Safe Church Awareness sessions for any appointed leader are being held:
- North – Tuesday 21st August Westbury Uniting Church 1.00pm to 3.00pm
- South – Saturday 25th August at Glenorchy UC 1.00pm to 3.00pm
Learning to be a safe church involves several things:
Understanding how to report disclosures of abuse
Having a Culture of Safety Contact person
Attending Safe Church Training which will help all appointed leaders understand the importance of Keeping Children Safe and their own responsibilities. The training will be offered by ministry agents and others trained to lead.
The Synod requires a report about how the Tasmanian congregations are going in implementing the KCS policies and procedures (2018 Tasmanian Revised Collection form). The link to the Synod Keeping Children Safe website https://ucavictas.org.au/keepingchildrensafe/resources/ is an essential part of this process since it has all the up-to-date forms and information. Overall, Tasmanian congregations have done an excellent job of attending Safe Church Training, maintaining current working with children checks and reading KCS (KCS1) & working with children (WWC1) policy.
Some areas that need urgent attention by church councils include:
- Ensure all church councils as a group have adopted, and signed
i) Form KCS3: Our Statement of Commitment
ii) Form KCS4: Keeping Children Safe Code of Conduct
iii) Form KCS5: Statement of Commitment to Induction and Training
- Ensure that all church council members have personally signed a Code of Conduct (Form KCS4A) + those working with children/youth.
Should you wish to hold a Safe Church session in your local area, please contact the UCA Tasmanian Office for further information. Tas.firstname.lastname@example.org or 6331 9784