{United Methodist Church of NJ Conference}

© 2015 Shari DeAngelo

What is Safe Sanctuaries?

  • This page has some good points that we could use describing what it is and why we do it… could skip some of the term definitions and other nuanced details but the overview pieces could be helpful to include in this section: https://www.umcdiscipleship.org/articles/engaging-everyone-in-abuse-prevention
  • Link the “Why Safe Sanctuaries” video here

Steps to become a Safe Sanctuaries Compliant Church

  1. Create a Safe Sanctuaries Task Force for your local church.
    1. Start looking at the context of your local church and who your ministries serve (ie youth, children, young adults and vulnerable adults).
    2. Purchase Safer Sanctuaries: Nurturing Trust in Faith Communities from 2023. (available through Cokesbury)
  2. Create a Safe Sanctuaries Policy for you local church,
    1. Be sure to include your state’s reporting guidelines in your policy
    2. Reporting Abuse in PA
    3. Reporting Abuse in NY
    4. Reporting Abuse in NJ
  3. Set up a Ministry Safe account for your church and appoint a Ministry Safe Administrator (see below for details).
  4. Have all adults (laity and clergy, paid and volunteer) working with children, youth and vulnerable adults complete a background check through Ministry Safe (see below for details), Safe Sanctuaries training for your church’s certified policy and Ministry Safe Training videos (see below for details).
  5. Implement policy in your local church, review and celebrate annually with your congregation.
  6. Once the policy has been approved by the Administrative Council of the local church, submit to the GNJ Safe Sanctuaries Coordinator for review and approval.

Steps for Creating a Safe Sanctuaries Policy for the Local Church

  1. Develop a Safe Sanctuaries Task force or team in your local church.
  2. Review Safe Sanctuaries Sample Policy (link to Sample Policy Jan. 2023 unless there are changes at AC)
    1. Reference the checklist for certification- in order for a policy to be approved by the Safe Sanctuaries Coordinator, it must meet these minimum requirements.
  3. Using the Sample Policy and the Checklist along with your review of your local church ministries, create a Safe Sanctuaries Policy for the local church to reduce harm and safeguard all that God has given the local church to steward.
  4. Have policy approved by local church Trustees and Administrative Council. Safe Sanctuaries policies are required by both the Greater New Jersey Annual Conference and our insurance agent.
  5. Submit policy to Greater New Jersey Conference Safe Sanctuaries Coordinator, Gabrielle Corbett, to have your policy reviewed and certified. The GNJSSC will review for changes, clarifications or editorial needs.
  6. Submit certificate to annual church/charge conference.
    1. Policies must be reviewed by each church’s Administrative Council every year, and re-submitted to the GNJ Safe Sanctuaries Coordinator (Gabrielle Corbett) for recertification every other year.

Getting Set Up in MinistrySafe

If your church has not gotten set up with a MinistrySafe account and does not yet have a MinistrySafe administrator, please have your church contact Gabrielle Corbett.

MinistrySafe requires a local church administrator to manage your church’s MinistrySafe account. This is usually the church administrator, children/youth ministry leader, SPRC chair, or pastor. This person will have access to all staff and volunteer background records.

The person who will be the MinistrySafe administrator should be the one to contact Gabrielle Corbett for the initial set-up.

Clergy Background Check

Background checks must be performed every three years in order to be in compliance with Greater New Jersey policy. Clergy background checks are handled through the Board of Ordained Ministry and Episcopal Office.

Please return to:
Joanne Sullivan
205 Jumping Brook Rd, Neptune, NJ 07753

Please include: $36.50
Note: Applications cannot be processed without payment


Download the clergy background check application here:

Background check for laity

• Please contact your church’s MinistrySafe Administrator to send you an online background check link for your church.

Online Training

As part of your church’s Safe Sanctuary policy, please complete the online Sexual Abuse Awareness Training through MinistrySafe. To access the training, please contact your church’s MinistrySafe administrator to send you a link for the training videos.

Steps to writing a local church Safe Sanctuaries policy

  1. Develop a Safe Sanctuaries Task force or team in the local church.
  2. Review Sample Safe Sanctuaries Policy
  3. Create a policy that fits the needs and the ministries at the local church level. This policy should include what is in the sample policy.
  4. Have policy approved by the Administrative Council.
  5. Submit policy to Greater NJ Conference Safe Sanctuaries Coordinator, Gabrielle Corbett, to obtain a policy certificate of compliance.
  6. Submit certificate to annual church/charge conference.

Resources and Downloads

Additional Information

  • For more information about Safe Sanctuaries visit the General Board of Discipleship website at www.gbod.org
  • To order Safe Sanctuaries materials visit www.Cokesbury.com.

For more information, contact: