On October 31, Tara Boer, Safe Church Coordinator for Classes Iakota and Heartland hosted an online safe church training. Initially the training was scheduled in January, then rescheduled to April due to a blizzard. The pandemic caused the training to be canceled yet again. Shifting to an online platform in response to the current regulations on gatherings was needed. This allowed for the opportunity to extend the invitation to our extended Safe church community as well as produce recordings of the workshops.
The training event included a plenary session led by Classis Safe Church Coordinator, Tara Boer and director, Bonnie Nicholas.
Bonnie Nicholas and Tara Boer shared why safe church policies are important in churches, an update on what is going on in the CRC denomination, and gave direction as to how ministry can benefit from local safe church teams.
Break out sessions featured the following topics:
Healthy Boundaries with Bonnie Nicholas, Director of Safe Church Ministry (not recorded)
Healthy boundaries go beyond policy, they are not merely a list of dos and don’ts, rather healthy boundaries are a way of thinking, of being aware of your own power and how others are impacted by your actions. It’s about building Christ-like community, creating a container where effective ministry can happen. Sometimes it’s difficult to know exactly where to draw the line to maintain healthy boundaries in constantly changing ministry situations. There are so many factors to consider, it can get complicated. This session was about understanding how healthy boundaries enhance ministry, how power dynamics influence ministry relationships, and how to avoid some of the common pitfalls that lead to boundary violations, conflict, and potential harm. Though this session was not recorded, some of the content can be found in this webinar, Healthy Boundaries in Ministry Relationships, and in this article, It’s All About Power.
Policy Development with Heidi Van Roekel, Heartland/Iakota Classis Safe Church Team Member.
Heidi had the experience of starting a safe church team in her own church and is in the 9th year of implementing safe church policy. This recorded workshop provides tips on starting a safe church committee, and creation of goals in regards to policy formation, implementation, and periodic review. This workshop recording will help you understand the basic elements of what a safe church Policy should have and review language to avoid in policy formation.
Circle of Grace Curriculum with Anna Groff, executive director of Dove’s Nest. Introduction by Dr. Jeanette Harder
Anna is very knowledgeable about Circle of Grace and provides an overview as well as practical advice for implementing this program in your church and youth ministry programs.
Dr. Jeanette Harder. Jeanette is a nationwide researcher, writer and speaker on child abuse prevention. She is the author of the book Let the Children Come: Preparing Faith Communities to End Child Abuse and Neglect. Dr. Harder and Allen Hoover are also the authors of a book For the Sake of a Child: Love, Safety, and Abuse in our Plain Communities.
Visit our Safe Church website to learn more about the Circle of Grace Curriculum
Savvy Cyber Kids (and families) with Erin Olson, MSW, LISW, Ph.D
Keeping kids and families safe and healthy on the internet is one of the biggest changes and challenges we face in the digital age. Technology can be an amazing tool for both kids and parents, but learning how to manage access and communication on the internet and social media platforms can be very overwhelming. What are the best tools available for parents to stay aware of their children’s online activity? As adults, how do we hold each other accountable as we engage with technology?