Screening in Faith TipsWritten by Rev. Canon David Smith
Providing a safe environment for children, vulnerable adults and everyone for that matter is what the important ministry of Screening in Faith is all about. To help parishes implement this protocol I am going to use the example of how I will need to be screened before I begin a volunteer ministry at St. James' church in Kingston.
I used to only worship at St. James' Church which put me in a low risk category. Once in awhile I preached which some might argue was high risk but my position at St. James ‘did not place me in a position of trust or contact with children.
But now I have volunteered to take Holy Communion to seniors in their homes and as a result I am now in a position of high risk. I have not changed but my position has. I think the mantra, it is not the person but the position is very useful in implementing the screening protocol.
Before I begin my new ministry the following steps will need to be done.
- As I am new to the parish(less than a year) I will need to send a reference from my former parish.
- Fill out a protocol application form and provide a list of three references
- Receive a ministry description for my position. If one does not exist then the parish will need to prepare one
- Be interviewed by the person who is responsible for my ministry
- Be trained for the position ( I have been doing this for 22 years so I may not need much training but perhaps St. James’ has unique expectations I should know about)
- Attend a sexual misconduct awareness training session. ( I have been to about 15 in the last year)
- Provide a police record check no older than one year. I recently updated mine.
- Receive the appropriate guidelines for my ministry
When I begin my work I will have to document all one on one visits I engage in and report to my supervisor for feedback, mentoring and support ( over lunch would be nice)
I am looking forward to my volunteer work and I am pleased to be screened as a way to make sure the diocese provides the very best care and love we can offer to those in our congregations.
I hope this is helpful for you as you do this important work.
The Rev David Smith is the Stewardship and Congregational Developement Officer for the Diocese of Ontario.