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Protection Policy

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A Commitment to Safety

In response to God’s call to care for the vulnerable, the Michigan Conference is committed to the well-being of every person entrusted to its care. This commitment is in harmony with the Book of Resolutions (¶162 Social Principles) and the baptismal covenant (United Methodist Hymnal).

The Michigan Conference partners with Safe Gatherings for the authorization process for people who want to work with children, youth, and/or vulnerable adults at Conference and District events and activities. All volunteer and paid staff serving at Conference and District events with children, youth, and vulnerable adults are required to complete this application, training and verification process.

In the event of a crisis

Download media response guide click here

IMPORTANT: Contact your District Superintendent immediately in the event of an allegation or crisis.

An updated Protection Policy for the Michigan Conference (district and conference-related events only) was approved at the 2024 Annual Conference. View the revised Protection Policy here.

Start your application now!

Click here to begin the Safe Gatherings process now. All those who are applying to be an authorized district or conference provider should use the applicant type: Conference/District Volunteer. Please note: You MUST enter Conference/District Volunteer on the first and second page.

Click here for a downloadable guide with more information about Safe Gatherings and a step by step guide for applying as a Michigan Conference/District Volunteer.

Safe Gatherings

Safe Gatherings is an online abuse prevention program that screens and trains clergy, staff and volunteers to help prevent abuse of children, youth, and vulnerable adults in group settings. When employees and volunteers are trained to identify potential abusers, recognize the signs of abuse, and know how to handle reporting, they are better equipped to prevent abuse.

Upon successful completion of the Safe Gatherings application, background and reference checks, and online training program, each applicant will receive documentation of approval valid for three years and will have continued access to the online training program for one year.

The price per applicant for the program customized for Michigan UMC is $47. For those applying as a Conference/District Volunteer the conference pays $17 and the applicant is responsible for $30. (If the fee is a hardship, please contact your event coordinator or Kathy Pittenger.) The fee includes the processing of three electronic references, a national background check, county background checks for all US counties of residence on record for the past 7 years, sex offender registry check, and the 1.5-hour online abuse prevention and boundary awareness training.  

Applicants will receive communication from Safe Gatherings after their application is processed. Those who are approved will receive a certificate of their authorization when the process is complete either via email or mail.

Click here to start the Safe Gatherings process

Downloadable Resources

Recommendation for Childcare for Conferences: All multi-church conferences, District Conferences, Annual Conference and mandatory clergy trainings will provide the option of quality childcare for clergy and laity whose attendance at said conferences is necessary for full inclusion in the life of the church.


Following conversation at the Michigan Conference Protection Policy Team meeting in July 2018, the Michigan Conference Protection Policy Team make the following recommendations:

Childcare for lay and clergy during local church, district, and conference meetings, trainings, and events is one way that we can be hospitable and welcoming to people of all ages. We encourage those who are planning events to include childcare when possible. While not mandatory, those who are planning events/trainings/meetings should assess if there is a need for childcare, if there are proper facilities at the selected location (or choose a location that is appropriate), and if authorized or trained care providers will be available.

Dependent care for members of a conference board, commission, or committee may be reimbursed up to $40 per day, per member (see section II.B. in the Michigan Conference Financial Policies 2018-2019). Dependent care for members of Annual Conference is explained in the Michigan Conference Plan of Organization in section 5.6.

The person responsible for the meeting/event/training is responsible for making the childcare arrangements (including proper childcare facilities, care providers, and arrangements for payment).

Childcare for district and conference meetings and events must meet the Michigan Conference Protection Policy standards. Childcare for local church/multi-church events may use local church protection policy with trained and screened providers. The cost will be up to the individual or team organizing the meeting or event. The cost could be covered by the church/district/conference, by the parent/guardian, or be shared.

The Conference Protection Policy Team understands the importance of quality care for dependents of clergy and lay persons and urges those who organize meetings and events to be cognizant of families with children. When childcare is not offered at an event or training, individuals are encouraged to contact their home church to provide appropriate childcare for their family whenever possible.



Reporting Abuse & Neglect

Anyone, including a child, who suspects child abuse or neglect, can make a report by calling 855-444-3911. Mandated reporters shall make an immediate report to Centralized Intake by telephone or through the online reporting system, of suspected child abuse or child neglect. Within 72 hours after making an oral report by telephone, the reporting person shall file a written report (DHS-3200). If the immediate report has been made using the online reporting system, no additional written report is required. Learn more about keeping kids and adults safe from the Michigan Department of Health & Human Services.

The Department of Human Services (DHS) created this video for mandated reporters (including clergy). It is also helpful for anyone who works with children, youth, or vulnerable adults.

Michigan DHS Mandated Reporters Video

If you have questions about the Michigan Conference Protection Policy, please contact  Rev. Kathy Pittenger (Connectional Ministry Staff).

If you have questions about Safe Gatherings or the application process, please contact the Safe Gatherings Team at [email protected] or call 888-241-8258.

Sexual Ethics Resource

A resource page for churches, laity, and clergy, that offers guidance, information, and templates around issues of sexual ethics. This includes sample policies for local churches lay and clergy leadership.

Local Church Resources

Resource pages for local church protection policy, training, and more.

Last Updated on June 1, 2024

The Michigan Conference