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Honoring Our Relationships: Building a Safer Church Community

Safe Church: Diocesan Policy, Training, and Documentation

Honoring Our Relationships: Building a Safer Church Community

Diocesan Safe Church Training is grounded in our call to seek and serve Christ in all persons and respect the dignity of every human being. This training provides an opportunity to increase and enhance our ability to live out our Baptismal Covenant within our communities of faith and in the world beyond.

The Episcopal Church in Vermont offers a 6-hour Basic Training program for all who serve the church. Topics include: power and boundaries in adult ministerial relationships; prevention, identification and response to elder abuse; prevention, identification and response to sexual abuse of children and youth; Diocesan Policies and response to misconduct within a community of faith. Diocesan policy regarding training requirements is included below. A half-day Re-certification Training is offered for all those who have completed the Basic Training within the last five years and is required every three years.

Virtual Safe Church Training for 2020

The first Safe Church Zoom session has been scheduled for the evening of Wednesday, November 18, at 7:00 p.m. .Contact Pamela Van de Graaf with questions or to sign up as soon as possible, as advanced preparation is required.

Diocesan Policy on Training

The Diocese of Vermont strictly prohibits sexual misconduct of any type by any ordained person (deacon, transitional deacon, priest or bishop) canonically resident or functioning in the Diocese of Vermont, or any employee or volunteer authorized to perform work or provide services within the church.

All clergy and lay employees of the church, and all volunteers authorized by the Vestry and clergy person in charge to work on behalf of the congregation in situations that are considered high risk for sexual misconduct (such as church school, individual counseling, youth programs, etc.) will be required to complete and sign an application form which specifically includes a request for personal references, information concerning any prior adjudication in regard to sexual misconduct, and acknowledgment of the church’s right to conduct a confidential background check.

Within the first thirty days of employment or assignment, newly elected vestry members and all persons engaged in high risk areas of service will be required to sign a statement indicating that they have read and understand, and intend to comply with, the Diocese of Vermont Policy and Procedures Relating to Sexual Misconduct.

Within the first six months of employment or assignment, all clergy and employees must receive a minimum of six hours of training on issues of sexual harassment and exploitation and the prevention and detection of child sexual abuse in church settings. All persons engaged in high risk areas of service must additionally participate in this training. All such training must be provided or approved by the Province of New England.

For complete PDF versions of Vermont Safe Church Policies use the following links:

Please contact one of the following with questions:

Pamela Van de Graaf (
Peggy Mathauer (
Stan Baker (

Report Misconduct

If you have knowledge of what you believe to be misconduct by a member of the clergy (bishops, priests and deacons,) The Episcopal Church has a detailed and transparent process to act on your complaint. Please see our “Report Misconduct (Title IV Intake)” page.

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