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Safer Sanctuaries

Why Safer Sanctuaries?

Safer Sanctuaries: Nurturing Trust within Faith Communities is a new and comprehensive resource that continues the tradition of Safe Sanctuaries ministry by building on the trusted policies and procedures that have guided churches over the past twenty-five years. This resource contains theological grounding for the work of abuse prevention, psychological insights about abuse and abuse prevention, basic guidelines for risk reduction, age-level specific guidance, and step-by-step instructions on how to develop, revise, update, and implement an abuse prevention plan in your church or organization.

For Christians, resisting evil and doing justice are ways that we live and serve Jesus Christ. Safer Sanctuaries provides helps to do just that by framing this work as a life-giving, community-enhancing, and proactive endeavor. It enables communities to be empowered and flourish as they develop and implement policies and procedures that make everyone safer. (text from the Upper Room website)

On this page…

Background Check Resources

General Resources & Sample Policies

Training Resources



Background Check Resources

The background check vendors and resources listed here are used by UM Churches and Conferences around the United States. They are listed for your information. We are not promoting any company, vendor, or resources. Please do your own due diligence in vetting these resources.


Background check vendor who offers identity trace, state criminal, and multi-jurisdictional criminal (including national sex offender registry). (recommended by the North Alabama Conference)


Background check vendor that includes online training, background checks, and cloud storage. Background checks includes identity trace, federal criminal and national sex offender registry. (recommended by the North Georgia Conference)

Safe Gatherings

Safe Gatherings offers a number of stand alone trainings as well as a complete process for applicants including application, reference checks, background checks, and training. Safe Gatherings is used by a number of conferences including Great Plains, Michigan, and Rio Texas.

General Resources and Sample Policies

These are sample policies to learn from and adapt for your ministry context. It is your responsibility to ensure that the policy for your ministry context is relevant and meets your contextual needs. It is also good practice for your insurance company and an attorney to review your policy for accuracy and completeness.

Model Local Church Policy

The North Alabama Conference has developed a model Safe Sanctuaries policy for local churches and ministries as a resource to use in adopting a child protection (Safe Sanctuaries) policy that is compliant with the best practices for policies as described in the Conference policy. Churches/ministries for whom this policy is appropriate to their context can simply fill out the appropriate fields in this model policy and have it approved. 

Local Church Resources

The Michigan Conference offers several resources for local churches including a local church policy template, training, and FAQ.

Basic Training Examples

These are examples from different United Methodist organizations from across the US. They are meant to be an example that your context may adapt. 

North Alabama

North Alabama church basic training (based on our model policy and geared toward churches/ministries who need a “Safe Sanctuaries 101” type course)

North Alabama Conference policy training (geared toward Conference staff and volunteers working at Conference events). We use the Moodle platform which takes a bit of IT work to implement/maintain and has a pretty steep learning curve, but it’s free as long as you’re hosting it on your own servers.

North Georgia

The North Georgia Conference website offers many training options, including a Power Point with narration, video training, and several specialty trainings, including “youth working in a VBS setting,” “Train the Trainer,” and more.


Coming Soon


Have a question? Need to talk through a question further? Please reach out

Discipleship Ministries: Rev. Dr. Kevin Johnson

North Alabama Conference: Rev. John Fleischauer

Michigan Conference: Rev. Kathy Pittenger

North Georgia Conference: Mimi Sanders

Have a question? Share it in the comments below and we will do our best to respond.


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