By the Rev. Amy Thompson Sevimli
Imagine Harold Sargeant seated behind stacks of paper on his desk. Authorization forms for background checks make up a chunk of that stack, a function which Sargeant has faithfully completed during his entire tenure at the synod office.
We want to keep the synod up-to-date on shifts in this vital task, especially in light of “Policies on Child Protection and Sexual Misconduct” (link to pdf file), a resolution adopted by the 2011 Metro D.C. Synod Assembly. The four parts of the resolution took the work Sargeant so faithfully performs a step further. Some resources and policies are still being finalized, but some are now in place.
To begin, a new child protection policy, “Youth Protection Policy for Synod-sponsored Youth Events” (link to pdf file), has been written and voted on by the Synod Council. It can be found under the “Congregation Resources” tab. This policy does many things to care for and protect children at synod events, but one aspect of the policy we want to highlight is the background check policy.
It has always been the case that background checks were required of all adults attending youth events. That does not change. What does change is that background checks must be performed every five years. This means that adults who regularly attend youth events will be required to have a new background check completed every five years. Additionally, adults who change congregations must have a new background check completed before they may attend a synod youth event.
If you have attended a youth event in the past, please know you may have to have a new background check completed. If so, please talk with your congregation and then call the synod office. We will help you complete the process.
Sargeant can manage it!
Editor’s Note: Also recently posted to the synod Web site under “For Congregations” tab – “Statement of Policy Regarding Sexual Misconduct by Members of the Clergy and Rostered Laypersons” (link to pdf file).