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Protection Policy

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Questions about Protection Policy

If you have questions about the Michigan Conference Protection Policy, please contact the Protection Policy Team Chair, Rev. Kathy Pittenger (Children's Initiatives Coordinator), or Rev. Christy Miller White (Youth Ministry Initiatives Coordinator).

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.

In the event of a crisis

Download media response guide click here

IMPORTANT: Contact your District Superintendent immediately during a crisis.

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.

A Commitment to Safety

The Michigan Conference is committed to the protection of children, youth and vulnerable adults, in addition to the paid and volunteer staff who serve these communities from potential false allegations. 

As of September 2019, the Michigan Conference Protection Policy Team is partnering 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.

All volunteer and paid staff serving at Conference and District events are required to complete this application, training and verification process.

The Michigan Conference will no longer have in-person trainings for district or conference events. All applicants MUST go through Safe Gatherings. Those who have a pending application must have it completed by November 1, 2019.

Persons who are currently authorized care providers through the Michigan Conference are not required to complete the Safe Gatherings training until their authorization expires. 

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.


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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 $45. For those applying as a Conference/District Volunteer the conference pays $15 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



If you have questions about the Michigan Conference Protection Policy, please contact the Protection Policy Team Chair, Rev. Kathy Pittenger (Children's Initiatives Coordinator) or Rev. Christy Miller White (Youth Ministry Initiatives Coordinator).

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.

Local Church FAQ and Resources

Resources for local church protection policy can be found here.


Q. Is my church required to use Safe Gatherings?

A. No. Safe Gatherings approval is required for individuals who wish to be authorized care providers for a district or conference event (childcare, youth chaperone, etc). Local churches MAY choose to use Safe Gatherings for their training and application, but are not required to do so.

Q. If my church uses Safe Gatherings are we still required to have our own Protection Policy/Safe Sanctuaries Policy?

A. YES!! Safe Gatherings includes an on-line training and application process including background checks. Local churches must have their own policy. See below for a local church protection policy template.

Q. Are there training resources for churches who don't wish to use Safe Gatherings?

A. Yes! See below for a training guide, PowerPoint, and link to the DHS Mandated Reporters video that can all be used to assist local churches with volunteer training.


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.




Last Updated on October 20, 2023

The Michigan Conference