Safer Congregation Committee

[Adopted Oct. 22, 2015]

The Safer Congregation Committee is a hybrid committee reporting to and supporting both the Board of Trustees and the minister. The committee shall be composed of at least five members, including the minister, the director of religious education, a member of the board, and two or more members of the congregation who have relevant expertise. Committee members other than the minister and director of religious education shall be appointed by the board with the advice and consent of the minister. The committee shall select its chair.

The committee’s primary responsibility is to develop, update and monitor the implementation of the safer congregation policies and procedures adopted by the Board of Trustees and related administrative policies and procedures adopted by the minister. The committee shall review existing safer congregation policies and procedures at least annually and make recommendations to the Board of Trustees and minister for changes and additions.

The committee shall also serve as a review and response team in cases in which a person participating or seeking to participate in the church has a history of one or more sexual offenses or has been accused of a sexual offense. The committee will meet with the person (and others as appropriate), obtain necessary information, consult with outside experts, and if deemed appropriate, will draft a limited access agreement. The committee shall inform the board of any persons recommended for limited access agreements. The committee shall also review all limited access agreements at the review intervals specified in the agreements.

In the case of an allegation of sexual misconduct by one of the congregation’s ministers, the church president shall contact the appropriate denominational staff, and the Board of Trustees and Safer Congregation Committee shall work together to create an opportunity for all parties to be heard and to resolve the situation.

The committee shall prepare an annual report of its activities to the congregation, which may be submitted as a separate report or as part of the minister’s annual report. The report shall include the number of persons subject to limited access agreements.