Has your church joined the emerging movement to end child sexual abuse? Do you believe people of faith have a contribution to make to keeping all children safe from sexual harm? Learn how congregations are making a difference in Lancaster, Lebanon and York Counties and beyond – and then, join us!
A Safe Church sees itself as a sanctuary, where one finds protection, support, guidance and the presence of God. Our “SafeChurch Project: Protection of Children and Youth from Sexual Abuse” (click here for the brochure and here for the insert) program helps you to create policies and guidelines developed in alignment with your mission and theological understanding to create a sanctuary where all can gather in an atmosphere of trust and safety.
SafeChurch is Samaritan’s unique process of working with groups or “Clusters” of congregations from various traditions to help shift congregational culture to proactive engagement of all adults to protect children from sexual harm – not only at church, but in the communities where we live, work, play and go to school. A Ms. Foundation grant gave us the opportunity to develop this model in 2011. Click here to learn more about SafeChurch terms and definitions!
Join the Lancaster-Lebanon-York Cluster
Bring SafeChurch to your Community or Judicatory
Bring SafeChurch to your Seminary
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Our local work in Lancaster/Lebanon/York PA:
Our Samaritan Center is based in Lancaster County, PA. It is one of more than 70 accredited Samaritan Institute affiliated organizations throughout the U.S. providing faith-integrated education, consultation and counseling. Samaritan SafeChurch was designed and developed at the Lancaster Center. At the conclusion of our sixth local SafeChurch Cluster in May 2016, we will have impacted approximately 10,700 adults and 7,100 children in 47 congregations in our community. In addition, we have trained facilitators in several regional church associations that are also running SafeChurch Clusters in our local area. Church by church, we are empowering and equipping adults to keep children safe from sexual abuse, which currently affects 25% of girls and 20% of boys before they are 18 years old. As our program grows, we add additional local “clusters”. Clusters currently form in February and in June and meet over a 10-11 month period, forming a rich ecumenical learning environment in which teams from each congregation meet together six times to learn how to prevent child sexual abuse and respond quickly when we suspect it may be happening. Churches participating receive many other benefits, including a customized new or improved policy with best practices, education for congregants, worship resources, a retreat for adult survivors, mandated reporting training for staff and volunteers, and healthy boundary curriculums for children and teens.
Click here to view the Lancaster-Lebanon-York PA churches that have completed, or are in the process of completing, the SafeChurch program on preventing child sexual abuse.
Our national work:
Our vision is to have multiple Clusters of Safe Churches in communities throughout the United States joining the emerging social movement to end child sexual abuse; and to have the program offered at seminaries demonstrating ethical commitment to insuring that religious leaders are equipped to prevent, and respond, to child sexual abuse in their congregations.