It’s good to have the rules clearly stated so as make a “Child Safe” environment.
There are Three things we don’t want people to do to children: Touch, Tell or Traffic:
Do not touch children or be touched by them in ways contrary to personal purity and common sense, do not say things to children that are sexual in nature, demeaning or offensive and do not encourage them to do the same, and do not encourage, participate in or approve of the human trafficking of any person especially a child.
(Here are presented prohibitions that greatly reduce the opportunity for abuse. These are our rules. That means they are binding upon every person in the church building at any time.)
1. A prohibition against any adult being alone within a confined space (a closed room, etc.) with a child without another responsible adult present. No adult and a child not related by blood, law or marriage shall be in a closed room, car or other space without a third party present. There will be accountability at all times.
2. A prohibition of private, secret, or confidential communications of any kind between an adult and a child within the scope of their work in or for the church. A parent or responsible third party must be included in all such communications by writing, phone, text, email, voicemail messages or any other kind of communication.
3. An adult or minor staff member, volunteer or employee, including the clergy or any officer of the church shall not touch a child on any part of their body commonly considered “private” or open to sexualization including but not limited to: the mouth, buttocks, breasts, genitals, other areas considered personal or sensitive or to touch the child or to have the child touch them in any such way.
4. A prohibition against any volunteer, member of the church, staff, clergy or officer to use their position, influence, bribes, threats, violence, force or threat of force to gain sexual contact of any kind.
5. A prohibition against raising one’s voice, yelling, threatening, aggressive speech or behavior, handling a child in a rough or demeaning way, using threats or intimidation, using one’s size, age or status for intimidation or in order to gain compliance, mean spirited looks or looks intended to frighten or place a child in an apprehension of a harmful or offensive touching by another person.
(If the need for correction or discipline arise, such matters are to be communicated to the parent or legal guardian of the child. If a parent fails to or refuses to act in regard to difficulties with the behavior of their child, the Session and other responsible parties should be informed so as to take action toward the maintenance of a safe and well-ordered environment. Let’s be clear on this, the discipline and correction of children is a parental responsibility. We do not physically or with verbal severity correct the children.
The correction of parents is an ecclesial matter. See the ARPC manual of Discipline.
Officer, clergy, staff volunteer or employment questions prior to qualification for service, ministry or hiring:
1. I have never been charged with a crime in regard to the safety or well-being of children.
2. I have never as an adult desired or acted upon a desire to sexually contact a child.
3. I have never molested a child.
4. I am not currently nor have I ever been a registered sex offender.
5. I am not currently under any state or court mandated supervision in regard to a sexual offense.
6. I shall not have any private contact or communications (including private conversations, texts, messages, notes, phone calls, or any other mode of communications) with a child without their parent or legal guardian’s immediate permission within the context of my role in the church.
7. I have not nor shall I have physical contact with any part of a child’s anatomy considered sensitive or “private” including but not limited too the buttocks, breasts and genitals.
8. If I know or have good reason to believe that an illegal or immoral relationship exists between a child and any adult member, visitor or child care worker at (church) I will report this information immediately to the Session and whatever other authorities I have a legal or moral obligation to contact including law enforcement.
9. I do not currently have knowledge of any illicit, illegal or immoral contact between an adult and a child that has occurred at or in relation to the Church.
10. I do not view, use, own, intend to use, create or to distribute child pornography or pornographic materials.
11. Because as a staff member, volunteer, helper, officer or employee of the church I in a lesser sense “represent” the Church to others I shall make every effort to increase the honor and respect due the Church (and Graceview as an individual instance of the visible church). I will be careful in regard to public or private statements, social media, communications or activities that would be discouraging to the faith or practice of children. I will make every effort to present my life to them as a Christian life free from doubt and moral or spiritual confusion. I shall not speak or communicate with them in worldly or profane ways that are inappropriate but as salt and light building them up in hope, love, faith and goodness. I shall act so as to create and provide a safe and wholesome environment.
12. I shall be personally chaste or faithful within the context of marriage (as one’s calling demands) as an example of Christ to those that observe my faith and life.
13. I will not engage in fornication, adultery, cohabitation, polygamy, polyandry, homosexuality or any other sexual activity prohibited by scripture and will not encourage or give approval either explicitly or implicitly to others that engage in these behaviors.
I have read and agree with these rules and affirmations in regard to my behavior at and activity in relation to the teaching of the Bible, Graceview Church (and Homeschool Southaven as a ministry overseen and supported by Graceview Church).