"First, do no harm. Do all the good you can. Stay in love with God." - John Wesley
As many of you may already be aware, Morning Star Community Church, located in South Salem, is undergoing an investigation around sexual misconduct including the resulting resignation of their pastor.
(Click here to read the Statesman Journal article.)
The trust we place in each other, the leaders, and teachers of our churches is huge and precious. It's so important to be worthy of that trust that Open Door Churches has a policy called "Safe Sanctuary" in order to make sure everyone is safe.
During this time, many of our congregations are reviewing our "Safe Sanctuary" policies with our staffs and congregations to go over the ways we are protecting each other from any potential abuse. Being aware of these regulations is important as we seek to care for one another with the love of Christ Jesus.
"As Christians we must take our responsibilities to our children, youth and vulnerable adults very seriously. While policies alone may not be able to completely prevent all harm, sexual abuse can be prevented. We as the people of Open Door Churches are dedicated to preventing child abuse within our ministry and within our community."
To be worthy of this trust and protect all people, we have many policies in place which all Open Door Churches adhere to:
- Regular education on abuse prevention and awareness
- Stringent screening for all staff and volunteers who must be involved at the church for six months before volunteering with children, youth, and vulnerable adults.
- All children, youth, and vulnerable adults must be supervised by at least two unrelated adults who are at least five years older than any children and youth being supervised.
- Required reporting of any abuse allegation and immediate investigation and action.
- Focus on the protection of and belief in any victims.
- Full compliance with state and federal laws
If you know of any abuse
If you are ever aware of
any abuse taking place, within or outside of Open Door Churches, it is vitally important to stand up for the person being hurt and report it. We do not tolerate any abuse of any kind whatsoever and will take swift and appropriate action.
If there is ever a time you feel unsafe or uncomfortable due to someone's words or actions, please let your pastor or the Person in Charge of the event know immediately. If you ever feel unsafe or uncomfortable due to the words or actions of the clergy or lay staff, contact one of the other pastors (or yours) or the district office. If you have had an experience in the past at one of our churches that made you uncomfortable, please contact a pastor or the adult with whom you feel most comfortable.
If you have any questions about these policies or would like to see the whole "Safe Sanctuary: Abuse Risk Reduction and Prevention Policy" packet, your church office will be happy to provide you with one.
Our prayers are with the Morning Star congregation.
Sarah Katreen Hoggatt
P.S. Thank you to Pastor Sandy and the "Safe Sanctuary Policy" for some of the wording in this article.