A Covenant of Caring
By Nancy Kauffmann, Dove’s Nest’s Interim Executive Director
Many churches have put in place child/youth protection policies to create safe environments to protect children and youth from abuse. After taking this is wonderful step, what can a congregation do as follow-up to keep their commitment to child safety front and center?
Glennon Heights Mennonite Church in Lakewood, Colorado, is one congregation who has found a creative and useful way of highlighting their commitment to children. Their website includes the following post: “We at Glennon Heights Mennonite Church love our children and are committed to their well-being. We have put measures in place to keep them safe from unwanted and hurtful activity. We expect all who become part of our community to join us in this effort.”
In addition to the website posting of expectations of all who attend the church, they also have an annual covenant for church participants to sign. Not only do members sign it, but then a copy is framed and displayed in the entranceway of the church to give witness of their seriousness to protecting their children.
Caring for our Children—Annual covenant
As a part of the Glennon Heights Mennonite Church community -
I commit myself to making our church and its activities safe for our children.
I commit to supporting and cooperating with the measures we have put in place to increase the safety of our children.
I commit to learning more about abuse, how to recognize it and how to prevent it.
I commit to fostering the spiritual growth and nurturance of our children.
I understand that this is a part of what it means for us, as a congregation, to be caring and wise in our welcome.
There are a number of benefits to posting on the website and displaying a copy of the covenant in the entrance. It is an education piece for all members and attendees of the church. It encourages everyone to be an active and knowledgeable participant in making their church safe for all. It empowers the children and youth to know that they are highly valued in the church and that they have the right to be safe from abuse. Finally, it benefits those who had been victims of abuse in the past by assuring them that this church is a safe place for all and that the church will work to ensure no child will have to go through what they went through.
What a blessing to all who come to Glennon Heights Mennonite Church.