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2022 Webinar Series: The Safe Church Basics

For our 2022 webinar series Safe Church went Back to the Basics of abuse prevention, awareness, and response by sharing five steps to becoming a safer church. All of the webinar recordings can be viewed at our YouTube Channel's Safe Church Basics Playlist herePlease "Like" or "Subscribe" to the channel, if you haven't already.

Step 1: Assessing Risk (March 23) 

This webinar features a panel discussing abuse situations that have impacted Christian Reformed Church communities throughout North America. We heard from the following people as they engaged with these scenarios:

  • Dr. Amanda Benckhuysen (Safe Church),
  • Rev. Sean Baker (Pastor Church Resources),
  • Dr. Tara Boer (Prof. of Social Work Dordt University & Classis Safe Church Coordinator) 

A new tool from Safe Church called the "Safe Church Assessment" was also unveiled which is designed to assess risk a risk assessment that determines how your church can do better in preventing abuse.

Step 2: Making and Revising Policy (Wednesday, May 18 at 12:00 PM Eastern) 

In this webinar, Safe Church Ministry staff highlight common myths hidden within many abuse prevention policies, share a new model policy, and hear from a panel of leaders about ways they have navigated the tedious task of revising and making policies.

  • Panelists included:

    • Rev. Mark Wallace: serves as the Campus Ministry Coordinator for Resonate Global Mission, working from his office in Guelph, Ontario. In this role he supports the 35 Christian Reformed campus ministries located in public universities and colleges in North America. 

    • Carmen Voogd: served on Safe Church Teams for Classis Alberta North and CRCNA Advisory Panel and presently Safe Church Trainer for West End CRC in Edmonton, Canada

    • Juliana Clink: Safe Church Coordinator of Classis Georgetown, a Children’s Ministry Director of Alive in Jenison Church, and more recently, a student at Calvin Theological Seminary

Step 3: Training Leaders and Volunteers (Wednesday, July 20 at 12:00 PM Eastern)  

  • All church leaders and volunteers should know what constitutes abuse, how to spot it, and what is expected of them to prevent and respond to abuse well. We hope this recording gives good perspective and a helpful way forward for church leaders to train their volunteers and leaders in abuse prevention. 
  • The Slide presentation from the Training Webinar is viewable here!

Step 4: Practice Being Restorative (Wednesday, September 21 at 12:00 PM Eastern)  

In restorative congregations, all in the church interact with empathy and respect, listening with one another as they go forward as the body of Christ even amidst conflict. This webinar featured a panel of individuals who have been trained to offer trainings in restorative practices for congregations through FaithCARE which consisted of: Eric Kas and Becky Jones as hosts, as well as Liz Tolkamp, Anthony Jansen (of Classis British Columbia Restorative Task Force) and also Rev. Jen Holmes Curran and Rev. Heidi De Jonge. 

Questions considered in this webinar:

  • How can congregations practice being restorative while planning for the future, making decisions, and spreading the gospel in a world that sometimes feels like it is falling apart?
  • How can we stay together amidst disagreement?
  • How can the church move forward after change and loss? 
  • Do we have the capacity to listen, stay committed to relationships, take responsibility for actions and respect one another through it all? 

Webinar 5: Respond to Abuse with Justice and Compassion (Wednesday, November 30th at 12:00 PM Eastern)

In safe churches, leaders take allegations of abuse seriously and follow the church’s policy to ensure a just and compassionate response.

This fifth step will premiere November 30th at 12 pm ET as a pre-recorded video resource on the Safe Church YouTube Channel. If you haven’t liked or subscribed to the channel, now is a great time!

We will also be hosting a watch party with many Safe Church Coordinators of Classes; all are invited as well to share via chat, ask questions, and connect briefly together at 1 pm ET (11a PT). You may register for this Collective Zoom Watch Meeting here!

This webinar featured Rev. Amanda Benckhuysen and Rev. Eric Kas as they presented the basics of responding to an abuse allegation which will involved:

  • Framing the Situation
  • Definitions and the Power and Control Wheel
  • The Many Faces of Abuse: Learning from Stories 
  • How Institutions Often Respond and the Nature of Abuse On an Individual and Community 
  • The Power of the Leader and Sacred Trust
  • Options for a Council to Respond to an Allegation of Abuse

All of the webinar recordings can be viewed at our YouTube Channel's Safe Church Basics Playlist here


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