In an effort to strengthen our church communities to be safe spaces for all people, Atlantic Coast Conference works to provide resources to prevent abuse, support survivors and keep children safe. Anyone who believes that an ACC minister has engaged in misconduct or ministerial sexual misconduct should contact the ACC office (Joanne Dietzel, JoanneD@atlanticcoastconference.net) to make a report.
Pennsylvania’s Child Protection Law requires clearances on employees and volunteers who have “direct contact” with children and makes all those with frequent direct contact with children and all credentialed leaders (clergy) mandated reporters. ACC has decided to implement the same requirements for all of the Conference’s credentialed leaders regardless of the state they live and serve in. Under this new law clearances are also required for other church volunteers. Understanding who needs clearances and getting all of the documents in order can be overwhelming. To aid in this process here are the need to know items.
If you have any questions regarding the needed clearances please feel free to contact your conference minister or Brook Musselman, Conference Youth Minister (BrookM@atlanticcoastconference.net).
Who needs clearances?
All employees age 14 and older and volunteers over the age of 18 who have “direct contact” with a child or children. This includes all credentialed leaders regardless of their contact level with children. A child is defined by the law as anyone under the age of 18. Direct contact can be defined as those acting in lieu of or on behalf of a parent or guardian, someone providing care, guidance, supervision and or has routine interaction.
Pennsylvania clearance instructions
Employees and volunteers should visit https://www.dhs.pa.gov/KeepKidsSafe/Clearances/Pages/default.aspx and complete the forms for a Pennsylvania Child Abuse History Clearance and Pennyslvania State Police Criminal Record Check. All employees and any volunteers who have not been a resident of Pennsylvania for the past 10 years must also complete the FBI Criminal History Clearance. These clearances are valid in Pennsylvania for five years.
ACC credentialed leader covenant (PDF)
This form must be completed by all actively credentialed leaders and signed by a congregational representative who has reviewed the credentialed leaders’ original background check results.
ACC youth events volunteer covenant (PDF)
This form must be completed by all leaders and chaperones attending ACC youth events.
Youth Event Verification Form for Congregations/Employers, (PDF)
This form must be completed by a congregational representative who has reviewed the original background check results of those who will be serving as leaders and chaperones to ACC youth events.
Ministerial Sexual Misconduct Policy and Procedure (PDF)
To be followed by ACC’s standing Ministerial Misconduct Investigation Team when appropriate.
Ministerial Misconduct Policy and Procedure signature page (PDF)
To by signed by all credentialed ministers.
Code of Sexual Ethics for Ministers (PDF)
To by signed by all credentialed ministers.
Healthy boundaries are a gift. They are helpful guidelines that give shape to our relationships. God set boundaries in the creation of the world, not to limit creation, but to protect it and let it flourish. Having healthy boundaries is a prevention to abuse. The Conference is committed to providing ongoing healthy boundary training for our credentialed leaders.
All ACC credentialed ministers are required to complete the Healthy Boundaries 101 course within a year of credentialing.
Join a virtual Healthy Boundaries 101 training with ACC on November 15, 2023 . Led by Executive Conference Minister Joanne Dietzel, this training will provide an introduction to the nature of boundaries and the issues of power and vulnerability. The course provides an ethical and theological understanding of healthy boundaries, as well as practical acknowledgement of the arenas that are often challenging for those in ministry. We will explore the complex roles and situations of ministry in a thoughtful and reflective way. You will have the opportunity to share experiences, and respond to situations through interactive discussions, as well as receive resources and have time for individual reflection. More info and registration HERE.
More Healthy Boundaries training opportunities can be found through the Mennonite Church USA Healthy Boundaries webpage.
Find training resources on the FaithTrust Institute YouTube channel HERE.
Ministerial Sexual Misconduct Discipline Policy and Procedures of ACC (ESP)
This policy outlines the process that ACC will follow.
Recognizing and Responding to Sexual Misconduct
As we work to better recognize and respond appropriately to sexual misconduct, MC USA’s Leadership Development, in partnership with Dove’s Nest, has created a poster designed to empower all members and participants in congregations to recognize and respond to sexual misconduct and abuse.
MCC webinars on addressing sexual violence
These webinars are intended as resources for congregations wanting to learn more about how to address sexualized violence within the congregation and how to encourage healthy sexuality and healthy masculinity among members. The webinars will be led by church leaders and others with expertise in the topics.
–Healthy Sexuality in our Congregations
–Sexualized violence – How should churches respond?
How to Spot Sexual Abuse in Your Church
Understanding the dynamics of sexual abuse is the first step, by Maureen Farrell Garcia.
Sexual Harassment Tip Sheet for Employers
A brief list of recommendations for consideration, if/when addressing these issues in your workplace, from Wellspan Philhaven.
To request additional resources or inquire about best practices, please contact the conference office, firstname.lastname@example.org