Safe Church, Safe Communities

The Episcopal Diocese of Arizona is committed to maintaining a safe environment that is free of exploitation, harassment, and abuse of any kind in its churches, schools, and any of its institutions. The Diocese requires that its clergy, lay employees, and church workers make the same commitment.

Our diocese utilizes the Church Pension Group (CPG) online children, youth, and vulnerable adult abuse awareness and prevention education training entitled Safe Church, Safe Communities. Safe Church, Safe Communities provides training, in short, focused courses that can normally be completed in 30-45 minutes each. These courses can be taken from any location where a high-speed internet connection is available. Online training provides for more accurate recordkeeping of training completion. 

As required by our NEW Policy for the Protection of Children, Youth, and Vulnerable Adults (Spanish translation is in process), all paid employees, church workers (non-paid volunteers or non-paid ministry staff), and clergy persons (licensed or canonically resident in the diocese) are required to take this approved exploitation, harassment, and abuse training within 30 days of when they are hired. All volunteers who have regular contact with children and youth are also required to take Safe Church, Safe Communities training before working with children.   

Safeguarding God’s People: Preventing Sexual Harassment for Workers training should be taken before new employees start work. If that is not possible, it must be discussed, and training completed within 30 days of when they are hired.

Supervisors and decision makers must complete Safeguarding God’s People: Preventing Sexual Harassment for Managers and Supervisors training within 3 months of becoming a supervisor or decision maker.

Safe Church, Safe Communities modules must be completed before a person can participate in any ministry activity that involves the development of a pastoral care relationship.

It is expected that each Vestry and Bishop’s Committee will record in the minutes of the first meeting of each calendar year following the election of new members at the annual meeting, that each member has reviewed this policy and is familiar with and knowledgeable of its content. In addition, the Vestry and Bishop’s Committee members understand it is their responsibility to see that all individuals of their church that must be in compliance with this policy have fulfilled all the necessary requirements.  Modules for Vestry, Bishops Committees, and other congregational leaders are described in the Policy course selection guide, page 28.

Safe Church, Safe Communities is the only approved program for this training. 

Missions and Parishes

For Mission congregations, documentation of compliance with this requirement, consisting principally of certification of completion of the required training, must be kept on file permanently at the church and the Diocesan Office. The administrator for Mission churches is Lauree Birchmeier.

For Parish congregations, documentation of compliance with this requirement, also consisting principally of certification of completion of the required training, must be kept on file at the church permanently. Each independent Parish has its own administrator who oversees Safe Church, Safe Communities Online.

Clergy

All clergy must notify Maria Felix of compliance. Documentation will be permanently kept in a clergyperson’s file.

For policy questions or program assistance, contact:

Program Assistance: Maria Felix (phone 602-254-0976) or email at maria@azdiocese.org

Reporting Misconduct

Clergy Misconduct can be reported through any of our three Intake officers. Learn more on the Reporting Misconduct page.