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A child sex offender at your church? May 13, 2007

Posted by David in Child protection, Childrens ministry, church-kids.

Jim Walton at Church Tech Matters, asks some important questions on how the church deals with a child sex offender in their congregation. He draw a distinction between: those aiming to offend and what the church should do to prevent that; and a former, reformed offender who is trying to put their former life behind them.

The man is open about the crimes he committed, he spoke to the congregation and shared some specific details of his past and is now wanting to be part of this church family. The crimes he was convicted of both involved children directly and one happened nearly 10 years ago and the other nearly 25 years ago.

On one hand, I would absolutely let him join the church and grow and serve and learn with the rest of us, and he would not be allowed to interact with the children at any level ever. However, what happens when he ends up alone in a bathroom with a boy or happens to be anywhere in the church and a child happens to walk in?

Jim suggests that churches should have a policy in place before something like this happens, so that the church can be ready to deal with it.


Criminal records bureau checks on Sunday school teachers May 4, 2007

Posted by David in Child protection, Children, Church, Church School, church-kids, Sunday School, Teenage ministry, Youth ministry, Youthwork.
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As part of a church’s work with children and other vulnerable people, it is important that those that deal with children are properly examined to see that they are suitable for the job. And this includes making enquiries with the Criminal Records Bureau.

At our church we have employed an umbrella organisation to aid in the checks for staff as well as helping to make recommendations and assist us in preparing a child protection policy document. The organisation is called ‘The churches’ child protection advisory service‘. (Their page on the CRB website).

The importance of this should not be overlooked, especially in the light of recent news.

3D pictures for Sunday School May 2, 2007

Posted by David in Bible pictures, Childrens ministry, Church School, church-kids, Sunday School.
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Dave Walker of the cartoonchurch blog recommends 3D pictures of bible scenes and suggests they could be useful for Sunday School classes.

However, you will need to purchase the special bi-colour lens spectacles.

Bible studying in Sunday School May 1, 2007

Posted by David in Bible, Children, Childrens bibles, Childrens ministry, Church School, church-kids, Sunday School.
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Nancy Ammerman ponders the amount of quality bible teaching that children receive in Sunday school, since they leave the service before the sermon and often there is no Sunday school during the school holidays.

Also, when children are in Sunday school, free-thinking teachers rarely ask them to memorize anything, lest they be accused of indoctrination. It seems likely that these children’s reservoir of biblical memory will run dry before they ever have a chance to reach adulthood.

In some churches, this pattern is more a matter of neglect than intent, while in others it reflects a genuine ambivalence about teaching children the Bible. Is all that Bible reading and memorization a good thing? Have those biblical images embedded in our brains made us too accepting of patriarchy, too willing to trust authority, too willing to believe? Perhaps. But I am convinced that it need not be so, that when we commit something to memory, it sinks deep and often resurfaces in surprising ways to meet new situations. Biblical fragments (“knit together in my mother’s womb,” “her price is far above rubies,” “plans for your welfare and not for harm”) happily can grow with us, providing both a touchstone to the past and points of connection to new people and new meanings. We stuff our memories with so many things (lyrics to Sesame Street songs, Santa’s reindeer), why worry about adding the names of the apostles and the words of Psalm 23 to the mix?

But I don’t think that churches and Sunday school teachers can take full responsibility for teaching the children. Clearly parents have a responsibility too. And also, Sunday school teachers often do not get the support that they need from the church leadership. And remember it is the pastor who has had bible school training, not usually the Sunday school volunteer. Perhaps churches should invest in their volunteers by sending them to training courses.

Found via: Episcopal Diocese of Rhode Island