Authored by: Faye Martin - Coordinator of Safe Church British Columbia and Liz Tolkamp - Faith Formation British Columbia Regional Catalyzer
Circle of Grace is a Christian safe environment curriculum used and promoted in the CRCNA that teaches the value of positive relationships with God and others. Circle of Grace educates and empowers children and young people to actively participate in a safe environment for themselves and others.
Recognizing the importance of personal safety in the lives of children and youth—and its critical link to both learning and faith formation—Faye Martin (British Columbia Safe Church MinistryAbuse Prevention & Response Coordinator) partnered with Liz Tolkamp (Faith Formation Ministries Regional Catalyzer for BC) to provide a 2-hour online Circle of Grace training for child and youth ministry leaders in the two British Columbia classes.
If you missed it, you can watch the recording here!
Liz Tolkamp’s role as a Faith Formation catalyzer, her experience as a children’s pastor, and her familiarity with the COG Curriculum made the partnership a natural and logical fit for Faye Martin.
There is sufficient evidence-based information proving the incidence and risk of abuse within the church is equal to that of the general population. No child or youth is immune to abuse being perpetrated against them.
The church and its leaders bear responsibility for and play a key role in:
The safety and welfare of children and youth in the church,
Providing ministries and education that supports children/youth to flourish and
Recognizing the ability to trust and fully embrace their faith—faith formation—is critical to the well-being of our children and youth.
Safe Ministries are an intentional proactive process that includes equipping our kids and teens about personal boundaries & safety for themselves and others.
It is never too early for children to understand that they are created in the image of God and that all our relationships in life are to be sacred. Understanding this can help children and youth protect themselves, while at the same time be respectful of and toward others.
Through the COG curriculum children learn these concepts in age appropriate lessons taught in a very visual way by adult leaders—who through their ministry roles—have a relationship with the kids. COG provides a framework and language to address boundaries and safety concerns for both children and adults.
Teaching COG develops a culture of understanding in our churches— a way of being where God is with us, his image bearers—right here, all the time. It draws the whole community, adults and children, into living out this reality in relationships to their personal safety, boundaries and their relationships with others.