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Dove's Nest Blog

Appropriate and Inappropriate Physical Boundaries

This material about physical boundaries for adults working with children comes from Sunnyvale Presbyterian Church’s 2009 “Safe Church Policies and Guidelines For Children in Childcare.”

Respect, safety, and appropriate boundaries are the guiding principles for physical contact between childcare workers and children. The guidelines below are intended to avoid contact that is or may appear threatening or inappropriate.

The Experience of a Parent Who Is a Survivor

By Carol Knieriem, Dove’s Nest Board Member and Volunteer

Forty-year-old George has a hard time walking in the doors of a church—the result of being molested by his youth pastor at age fifteen. After a year of being molested, church officials were informed about the abuse. George’s perpetrator was told to leave the church, and George was instructed not to tell anyone about the abuse.

Protecting the Least of These: Mandated Reporting of Child Abuse

Katherine Burkey Wiens, Dove’s Nest Speaker’s Bureau Member

Recently, I visited with a pastor who needed counsel about how to handle a situation of possible abuse. The pastor’s struggle was whether they should make a report to the state or simply talk with the family about what had happened. Adding to the complexity, clergy are not mandated reporters in the pastor’s state, therefore they are not required by law to report suspected child abuse. The question I posed to this pastor was “Who are you trying to protect in this situation?” 

Mentoring: It's Not About You

By Marlene Bogard, Executive Director of Mennonite Women USA and Dove's Nest Speaker's Bureau Member

Don, a jovial man in his 50s, called me to announce, “I quit.” As a congregational mentor, his frustration with the 14-year-old youth with whom he was paired had reached a tipping point. “He shows up late to our meetings, grunts in response to my questions, and doesn’t respect me,” Don complained.

How Can We Create a Culture of Safety for Children in Church?

By Melissa Florer-Bixler, Pastor, Raleigh Mennonite Church

During Holy Week, I gather up our flock of children at the front of the sanctuary. “I have a surprise to tell you,” I whisper into the mic, excitement in my eyes. I hand out an envelope to each child. Inside is a piece of paper that says, “He is risen!” On the outside I’ve written the words “Don’t open until Easter.”

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