NEPTUNE – Feeling confident and at ease concerning the safety and security of youth in GNJ churches should come naturally to parents and families. That’s why the United Methodist Church of Greater New Jersey is committed to helping every church enact a Safe Sanctuaries policy and be compliant with its regulations.
On October 10 at the Mission and Resource Center in Neptune, a GNJ-wide training event will be held to ensure all local church volunteers are compliant in current required best practices in keeping young people safe.
“God calls us to make our churches safe places, protecting children and other vulnerable persons from abuse,” said training facilitator Rev. Erica Munoz. Currently serving as the Senior Pastor of Aldersgate UMC in East Brunswick – a vital congregation doing profound ministry with children, youth and young families, Munoz has also served as the GNJ Safe Sanctuaries Coordinator since 2008. She has helped local congregations reduce the risk of child abuse in the church and is passionate about raising up young disciples..
“I believe every church should serve as a safe and encouraging place for young people to learn and grow in God’s love,” said Munoz.
Anyone interested in being a part of young people programming within GNJ, whether through youth groups, IGNITE, or VBS, is required to become Safe Sanctuary qualified. Certification is simple, requiring only a miniscule fee and submitting oneself for a background check.
“It’s easier than you think and important to all,” said Munoz.
On October 10, training participants will learn requirements for Safe Sanctuaries procedures in GNJ and obtain a firm grasp of importance and the biblical mandate for having a Safe Sanctuaries policy in the local church. Workshop attendees will learn how to create and implement a Safe Sanctuaries policy for their local church ministries and will receive certificates of completion.
Churches are encouraged to promote themselves by publicly indicating that their volunteers and or staff are Safe Sanctuary certified; helping to build continued trust within their communities.
Churches that have a Safe Sanctuaries policy that need to be certified are invited to bring their policy to the training.