Safe Sanctuaries

The General Conference mandate of 1996 requires all United Methodist Churches to implement policies and procedures to prevent the risk of abuse of children, youth and vulnerable adults.

Each local church context is unique. As such, each church should gather a team to create, review, update and enforce a Safe Sanctuaries policy that meets the needs of their individual context. Rev. Joy Thornburg Melton wrote a book titled Safe Sanctuaries that offers insight into the need for such policies and procedures, as well as guidance for writing and implementing a church policy.

One factor in Safe Sanctuaries policies is the utilization of national background and DMV checks to screen staff and volunteer candidates before they supervise children, youth or vulnerable adults or before they drive on behalf of the church. The Western NC Conference partners with PeopleFacts (formerly known as Trak-1 Technologies), an accredited provider of background screening, to safely and securely screen employees, contractors and volunteers.

Churches can also sign up with PeopleFacts for low-cost screening! Then, local church volunteers who would like to volunteer for events or participate in mission work at the conference level do not need to undergo duplicative screening.



Guía de la Revisión de la Políticas

Ejemplo de la Políticas y Procedimientos de la Iglesia

Ejemplo de Formulario de Informe de Incidentes

Muestra del Formulario de Registro y Liberación de Eventos

Ejemplo de Formulario para Voluntarios Interesados



Local Church Training Template (.ppt)

Local Church Training Template (.key)

Local Church Training Facilitator Notes (These notes are included in the .ppt and .key files, but are provided separately here for your convenience.)



Free online training for policy leaders and local church volunteers is now available to all! To access the training website, you may sign-up yourself or contact Havaleh Havelka, Training and Resource Specialist, at

Additionally, you may watch this recently recorded webinar below. Click the YouTube link on the video to view on YouTube and enlarge the player window.

Community Hotspot Considerations (.pdf)

Unfortunately, there was an error with the recording of the Safe Sanctuaries with Virtual Small Groups webinar. However, you may download the notes here: Virtual Ministry Considerations


Have you completed a Safe Sanctuaries Trainer workshop hosted by the conference? Click here to access your training resources.



Discipleship Ministries
This UMC Agency has numerous Safe Sanctuaries resources on their website.

PeopleFacts, formerly Trak-1 Technologies, is the conference-recommended vendor for background checks.


BOOK RESOURCES (Available for lending from the Resource Center)

Safe Sanctuaries: Reducing the Risk of Abuse in the Church for Children and Youth by Joy Thornburg Melton

Safe Sanctuaries in a Virtual World by Joy Thornburg Melton and Michelle L. Foster (Beckerleg)

Safe Sanctuaries: The Church Responds to Abuse, Neglect, and Exploitation of Older Adults by Joy Thornburg Melton



Rev. Michelle Foster-Beckerleg, Safe Sanctuaries Consultant 

Havaleh Havelka, Training and Resource Specialist

Follow Jesus. Make Disciples. Transform the World.