At Orchard Ridge United Church of Christ, we believe that our church should be a safe sanctuary for all those who come in good faith. Most importantly, it should be a safe sanctuary for the children and youth who are entrusted to us.
The physical or sexual abuse of a child is a tragedy no matter where it occurs; it is especially so when it takes place in a house of God. Abuse in a church is the ultimate violation of a sacred trust. We also acknowledge that the abuse of children is a reality, and that no church is immune from that reality.
We want our congregation to be a haven, free of sexual misconduct or harassment. To help reach these goals, we have adopted the following policies, procedures, and educational programs to reduce the possibility of child sexual or physical abuse, or any type of sexual misconduct or harassment from occurring in our congregation. The educational aspect will make us aware of potential problems, and the implementation of prudent policies should help safeguard our children, youth, and members. While not all policies can anticipate and prevent all misfortune, they can state a purpose and provide guidance to achieve the purpose. These policies express our keen interest in protecting our children and youth, while maintaining the trusting atmosphere of our congregation for the entire congregation, adults and children alike.
We therefore enact this policy to establish and enforce rules and procedures to eliminate, as much as possible, the risk of abuse in our children and youth programs and activities.