Movement Building

SafeChurch Convening

Convening croppedOn April 9, 2016 Samaritan SafeChurch held the first regional convening of leaders from churches that have engaged in the SafeChurch process since it began in 2011. Over 70 people attended, representing 32 churches and 11 denominations. It was a high energy, inspiring day of sharing stories of success, challenges, and learning. The purposes of the Convening were to:

1) Determine how culture has shifted and continues to shift in those congregations that have completed the process
2) Draw representatives from 30-50 Safe Churches together to share stories of inspiration, hope, and challenge in order to spark new ideas, energize people;
3) Learn what resources churches need to move forward in this work; and
4) Create a space where relationships form across congregations to lay the ground for more intentional regional movement building.

To read the full report on the Convening, click here.

Wisdom Circles for Survivors and Allies

SafeChurch wants to ensure the voices and perspectives of survivors and allies of faith help to shape the larger emerging social movement to end Child Sexual Abuse, and we need to hear from you. We are calling on survivors and allies to participate in a “Wisdom Circle”! You will be our honored guests.  For more information, please click here.

National Pilot Program Seeds New SafeChurch Clusters:  Find a “Hub” Near You!

Initially funded by the Ms. Foundation for Women and developed by the Samaritan Counseling Center in Lancaster, PA, SafeChurch is part of a groundbreaking effort to end child sexual abuse across the United States  by building an inclusive, strategic and sustainable movement encompassing diverse secular and faith-based organizations. Learn how we are working with other organizations across the country to develop a movement for ending child sexual abuse! Click here for more information.

In addition to deepening our work in Lancaster and contiguous counties, our “big” vision is to have multiple clusters of “safe churches” in relationship with local organizations working to end CSA within geographically defined communities across the country to ignite a faith-based movement within the larger stream beginning to coalesce around this issue.

The 2 year national pilot program that began in April 2013 and concluded in April 2015 was a 20 hour, 3-day training for ordained and lay leaders from a broad spectrum of theological traditions to equip them to facilitate a SafeChurch process in their own congregations, or in a “Cluster” of several churches working together.

The pilot was intended to be a learning experience for both participants and Samaritan’s designers of SafeChurch to determine how the model developed in Pennsylvania can be adopted and implemented in other geographic locations.

Our pilot program demonstrated the portability of the model.  We now offer it as a three-day facilitator training which can be hosted by a community organization or a regional church association.  See our Facilitator Training page for details!

In addition to our Lancaster-Lebanon-York- Harrisburg, PA, Clusters, SafeChurch is now available in Pittsburgh, Atlanta, Harlem and Harrisonburg, VA.  Organizations that are serving as community “hubs” in these areas and the contact information for each are listed below.

CONNECT (Harlem, NY)
Sally MacNichol, Co-Executive Director

The Collins Center (Harrisonburg, VA)
Ana Arias, Associate Director

Care & Counseling Center of GA (Decatur, GA)
Tom Van Laningham, Faith Community/Outreach Coordinator

Pittsburgh Pastoral Institute (Pittsburgh, PA)
Michelle Hanna-Snyder, Executive Director

Samaritan Counseling Center of Western PA (Sewickley, PA)
Carl Baughman, Executive Director

SafeChurch Focus

Building. . .

a faith-based movement to end Child Sexual Abuse

Moving. . .

beyond first generation “safe church policies and training” to shifting culture to inspire and equip adults to protect children from sexual harm in church and community

Connecting. . .

with others sharing a vision where people of faith take leadership to end the conditions that allow one in four girls and one in six boys to be sexually abused

Engaging. . .

survivors as sources of wisdom and leaders

Partnering. . .

with the Just Beginnings Collaborative to End Child Sexual Abuse