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By-Laws & Policies

The governing documents for Starr King Unitarian Universalist Fellowship are the bylaws established by the members. They include but are not limited to the process for membership, church elections, positions of leadership, programs, and other important matters. Policies provide guidelines to achieve long-term goals and are approved by the membership as well. 

Accountable Reimbursement
Accountable Reimbursment

The following resolution was duly adopted by the Board of directors of SKUUF at a regularly scheduled meeting held on September 18, 2002, a quorum being present.


SKUUF hereby adopts an accountable expense reimbursement policy upon the following terms and conditions:


1. Adequate accounting for reimbursed expenses. Any employee now or hereafter employed by SKUUF shall be reimbursed for any ordinary and necessary business and professional expense incurred on behalf of SKUUF, if the following conditions are satisfied: (1) the expenses are reasonable in amount; (2) the employee documents the amount, date, place, business purpose (and in the case of entertainment expenses, the business relationship of the person or persons entertained) of each such expense with the same kind of documentary evidence as would be required to support a deduction of the expense on the employee's federal tax return, and (3) the employee substantiates such expenses by providing the SKUUF Treasurer or Assistant Treasurer with an accounting of such expense no less frequently than monthly (in no event will an expense be reimbursed if substantiated more than 60 days after the expense is paid or incurred by an employee). Examples of reimbursable business expenses include local transportation, overnight travel (including lodging and meals), books, subscriptions, education, and professional dues. Under no circumstances will SKUUF reimburse an employee for business or professional expenses incurred on behalf of SKUUF that are not properly substantiated according to this policy. This requirement is necessary to prevent SKUUF's reimbursement plan from being classified as a nonaccountable (taxable) plan.


2. Excess reimbursements. Any SKUUF reimbursement that exceeds the amount of business or professional expenses properly accounted for by an employee pursuant to this policy must be returned to SKUUF within 120 days after the associated expenses are paid or incurred by the employee, and shall not be retained by the employee.


3. Tax reporting. SKUUF shall not include in an employee's W-2 form the amount of any business or professional expense properly substantiated and reimbursed according to this policy, and the employee should not report the amount of any such reimbursement as income on Form 1040.


4. Retention of Records. All receipts and other documentary evidence used by an employee to substantiate business and professional expenses reimbursed under this policy shall be retained by SKUUF.

Alcoholic Beverages
Alcoholic Beverages

November 2014​

Purpose of Alcoholic Beverages Policy:

  • Minimize SKUUF’s liability and the chance for alcohol related tragedies.

  • Assure that no alcohol is served to underage people.

  • Make events comfortable for non-drinkers and drinkers.

  • Assure that alcohol is not abused at SKUUF events.




  • The host for any SKUUF event where alcohol will be served must ensure that proper liquor liability insurance coverage is in place. This insurance may be purchased in addition to our existing insurance policies or can be provided by the establishment where the event will be held.

  • The event host must have the permission of the Board in order to serve alcohol at an official SKUUF event.

  • If alcohol is to be sold or distributed by donation, a temporary one day liquor license must be obtained.


What must also be served:


  • Non-alcoholic beverages must also be served and prominently displayed. 

  • Food must be served along with alcohol.


How it must be served:


  • The area in which alcohol is being served must be staffed at all times. Alcohol may only be served by an adult supervising the table: no self-serve.

  • The event host must ensure that no alcohol is served to anyone under the age of 21.

  • The amount of alcohol consumed and behavior at the event shall be monitored. If someone becomes intoxicated, they will be asked to leave, but will not be allowed to drive; a taxi or other alternate means of transportation will be provided.

  • No alcohol is to be left behind at the conclusion of the event.


This policy does not pertain to events held in individual member’s homes or when groups of members gather to socialize privately.

Archiving SKUUF Documents & Artifacts
Archiving Docments & Artifacts

June 17, 2015​

The purpose of this policy is to identify documents and artifacts that must be retained permanently or temporarily for historical, legal or administrative reasons, and provide for the routine and timely disposal of documents which need not be retained.


1. The Governing Board, in consultation with the Budget & Finance Committee, shall determine which documents will be archived in hard copy format, electronic format, or both. The Office Administrator will be responsible for filing and cataloging the administrative materials and the Budget & Finance Committee will maintain the financial materials.


2. Documents containing no confidential information shall be destroyed by regular disposal methods; all other records will be shredded. The Archiving Procedure, located in the “Procedures” section, outlines which materials to retain, the retention period, and the storage method of all records subject to this policy.


3. Ideally (according to UUA guidelines), the following materials should be archived:

  • Legal documents (deeds, founding documents, bylaws)

  • Annual Reports & Annual Financial Statements

  • Minutes of Board and Congregational Meetings

  • Membership, dedication, marriage, and funeral records

  • Congregational publications (newsletters, directories, & orders of service, and brochures)

  • Copies of important sermons or talks

  • Records of congregational groups committees, and events

  • Property records and architectural plans

  • Biographical information on ministers and prominent members

  • Scrapbooks and identified photographs

  • Film, sound, and video recordings

  • Important correspondence

  • Financial Ledgers and Journals (other financial records for 6 years)

Coffee Purchasing
Coffee Purchasing

Adopted May 2001, Revised May 2004

Coffee for the Fellowship use comes solely from companies known to give the coffee grower a fair price and to grow coffee in an environmentally conscious manner.

Endowment Fund Investment Policy

September 2014



  1. Obtain investment management from a managed fund that is external to the Budget and Finance Committee and other members of the Fellowship.

  2. Maintain a diversified portfolio of assets. - A significant downturn in value of a single holding or market sector should not significantly disrupt the overall strategy. - Include approximately equal positions in both “growth” and “value” securities.

  3. Maintain a moderate level of risk and return.

  4. Avoid market timing.

  5. Remain fully invested (less than 10% in cash) regardless of market conditions.

  6. For investments in the bond market avoid both those with durations longer than 10 years and those below investment grade.




  1. Determine and maintain asset allocation.

  2. Review, as necessary, to ensure that spending from the Fund does not exceed the limitations stated in the Plan Document.

  3. Review investment performance quarterly and annually.

  4. Review Investment Policy Statement annually.

  5. Periodically, perhaps every 5 years or so, complete a thorough review of all investment practices, performance, options to change investment management, and provide recommendations for any changes that should be considered.

  6. Report performance annually to Governing Board and to the general membership.




Implement and continue a strategy that will maintain the value of contributions to the Fund, over time, after inflation. This means that growth in the market value of securities plus income earned from dividends and interest must exceed the total of both the long-term rate of inflation and the spending from the Fund.




Invest: approximately 60% of total assets in equities and 40% fixed income; primarily in equities and fixed income that represent a broad spectrum of the domestic and international markets; and in passive investments; avoid active management.

Endowment Fund Investment Policy
Endowment Fund Memorial Donations & Gifts

November 2011

The Board approved the following:


“Undesignated or individual gifts of $500 or less donated to the Fellowship in memory of deceased persons shall be credited to the Starr King Fellowship UU Endowment Fund.”


Donations received by SKUUF in memory of someone who is deceased and not directed to a particular fund or project are now automatically credited to the SKUUF Endowment Fund if the gift is $500 or less. If such designated fund is more than $500, the Governing Board will determine where the donation should be credited.


The Endowment was established by vote at SKUUF's Annual Meeting on May 22, 2004 for the purpose of providing annual funds for projects and purposes that cannot be paid from the Operating Budget.

Endowment Fund Gifts
Executive Session

August 202​0

For the most part, a board will go into an executive session in order to discuss something requiring confidentiality, such as personnel or legal issues.


Executive sessions can include anyone that the board invites. The minister as an ex officio member of the board, will be included. No board member will be excluded from an executive session unless the issue before the board is one of a performance or other serious concern with that individual.


The minutes of the meeting should reflect when and how the board went into executive session, when it ended, and what motions were approved.


Reasons for Executive Sessions

  • Personnel Matters - Usually the minister is the supervisor of the staff and would handle reviews and other personnel matters. But because of the nature of relationships between program staff and congregants, the board may need to be aware of disciplinary action or termination of staff.

  • Alleged Illegal Activity or Misconduct - If anyone reports suspected illegal or unethical conduct by staff or members, the board may want to meet in executive session for discussion, due process, and confidentiality. If the allegations include the minister or a board member, they should be excluded from the session.

  • Lawsuits - A board may meet with legal counsel in executive sessions to discuss progress, decisions, and impact resulting from lawsuits.

  • Sensitive Business Transactions - If a congregation is acquiring property, negotiating major rental contracts, or considering any other actions where negotiations might be negatively impacted, the board would want to discuss them in executive session.

  • Conflict - Although conflict transformation requires a lot of open communication, conflict in its early stages may need the kind of candid discussion that might only happen in executive session. 

  • Times of Crisis - A crisis can raise the anxiety of the congregation to the point where people aren't thinking clearly. Depending on the situation, the board may need to hear information that can't be widely shared, weigh options that may not be popular as well as consider what is the most faithful response. Limiting the number of people involved will help contain the anxiety to the leaders facing the crisis.

Executive Session
Gift Acceptance Policy

March 2019

Gifts that Starr King will routinely accept:

  • Cash gifts.

  • Publicly-traded securities.


Gifts that require approval of the Governing Board:


  • Any gift valued at more than $500.

  • Real estate.

  • Personal property.

  • In kind gifts (Donor offers goods or services to Starr King).

  • Securities that are not publicly traded.

  • Gifts whose source is not transparent.

  • Gifts that are restricted in any way.


Gifts that Starr King will not accept:


  • Gifts that may jeopardize Starr King’s status as a church under federal tax law providing for tax exemption for religious and charitable purposes.

  • Gifts that are too difficult or too expensive to administer in relation to their value.

  • Gifts that are for purposes outside Starr King’s mission.


General provisions:


  • Acceptance of any contribution, gift, or grant is at the discretion of Starr King. Starr King will not accept any gift unless it can be used or expended consistently with the purpose and mission of Starr King.

  • Starr King will not provide advice about the tax or other treatment of gifts and will encourage donors to seek guidance from their own professional advisors to assist them in the process of making their gifts.

  • Starr King will respect a donor’s request to remain anonymous. With respect to anonymous gifts, Starr King will restrict information about the donor to only members of the Board, persons approved by the Governing Board as contacts for potential donors, and staff with a need to know.

  • All publicly-traded securities shall be sold as quickly as reasonably possible absent a compelling reason to delay the sale. Compelling reasons include a pending dividend, stock split, or similar circumstances calculated to enhance the value of the gift.


The Governing Board has approved a number of established funds to which gifts may be directed. “Restricted gifts” designated to be made to such a particular fund shall be deposited to that fund and applied for the purposes for which such fund is established. With respect to other gifts donated for a specific purpose not identified to advance the purposes of an established fund, Starr King will respect the intent of the donor in regard to gifts for restricted purposes, subject to the following: Prior to accepting a restricted gift, the Governing Board shall obtain a written acknowledgement from the donor that the restriction(s) will expire after a specified period of time and, thereafter, the gift may be used for any purpose that the Governing Board determines will further the mission of Starr King.


The Governing Board may delegate authority to accept gifts to a committee selected by the President and approved by the Board. Any such committee shall report its acceptance or refusal of a gift to the President of the Board within ten days of making its decision.


Starr King will not compensate, whether through commissions, finders' fees, or other means, any third party for directing a gift or a donor to Starr King.


This policy was adopted by vote of the Starr King Unitarian Universalist Fellowship Governing Board on March 20, 2019.

Gift Acceptance Policy

January 21, 2015

Starr King Unitarian Universalist Fellowship will fill contracted positions with people who are not members of the congregation. This policy may be waived in the case of the position of Director of Religious Education.

Maintaining the SKUUF Operations Manual
Maintaining the Ops Manual

June 17, 2015

The SKUUF Operations Manual is published in both notebook and electronic versions. Keeping both versions up-to-date and equivalent is essential to its usefulness.


The Board Secretary will work with the Office Administrator to recognize when updates are needed, arrange for the appropriate person or committee to produce the update, and carry-out the distribution of those updates.


In Addition, the Board Secretary and Office Administrator will conduct an annual review to determine the currency and relevance of the Manual contents and make appropriate changes.


January 21, 2015



  • Each group which meets regularly either on a short term or long term basis will create a covenant annually.

  • Each group will create a unique covenant that meets the needs of its members and facilitates productive work by the group.


Although not all the following are included in each covenant, common topics addressed are:


  • Topics arising from our seven principles 

  • How conflicts are addressed and resolved

  • How meetings are run 

  • Expectations for communications among members outside the meetings 

  • How groups assure that all members participate and are heard in meeting


It is suggested that at the start of each meeting the group's covenant is read as a reminder to all members.

Paper Cups
Paper Cups

November 1987

The use of Styrofoam cups will be discontinued at all SKUUF functions for concern and protection of our treasured environment.


November 19, 2014



  • Provide adequate availability by defining parking areas and uses.

  • Ensure satisfactory accessibility for those with disabilities.



  • Members and guests should enter the upper parking area from Fairgrounds Road and the exit onto Morgan Drive.

  • Entrance/exit to the lower parking area behind the building is from Morgan Drive.




  • Handicap parking spaces are located in the upper lot.

  • Do not park in a handicap parking space if you do not have a disabled parking tag or license plate – not even when the lot is otherwise full and the only available space is reserved for those with accessibility issues.

  • The remainder of the spaces in the upper lot should be prioritized for the elderly and others with reduced mobility.


Good practices:


  • In the lower lot, form two parking lines with enough distance between for safety.

  • When parking on the grassy area on the circle, park perpendicular to the street to form one line and perpendicular to the rear boundary to form the second line.

  • Park away from adjacent vehicles to avoid hitting them with open doors but close enough to provide space for others.

  • Consider “Park to Leave” (reversing into a space) as this reduces the potential for collisions.


Cars parked on the travelled ways of Fairgrounds Road and Morgan Drive are subject to ticketing and towing.


In cases when a large crowd is expected for an event at SKUUF, traffic control should be provided.

Political Activities Policy
Political Activities Policy

March 2019

With an active political season in progress and more to come, it is timely for Starr King to adopt a policy on political activities. Following guidelines obtained from the UUA, the Board adopted the following policy at the board meeting on March 16, 2016. We are free to express our own political ideas, but the intent is that Starr King should be neutral and respect the variety of political beliefs of our members, friends and visitors.


Starr King Unitarian Universalist Fellowship will not participate in or intervene in (including the publication or distribution of statements) any political campaign on behalf of or any candidate for political office.


The congregation will not: issue letters of endorsement or opposition printed on Starr King letterhead; distribute campaign literature at congregational events; display campaign signs on congregation property; place announcements regarding political events or candidates on bulletin boards or in the Starr King View; or engage in any other activities that could be construed as endorsing or opposing a candidate. This applies to elections at all levels, from local to national offices, regardless of whether or not it is a partisan election.


Starr King will not: contribute money to candidates, solicit contributions on a candidate’s behalf, donate to candidate’s political action committees, or create political action committees of its own. Individuals may not fundraise for candidates at Starr King or use fellowship letterhead or other official materials for such purposes.


This policy is not intended to restrict free expression on political matters by individuals, including leaders, of Starr King when speaking for themselves. Nor does this prohibit individuals and leaders from speaking about important issues of public policy.

Renters and Alcoholic Beverages
Renters & Alcoholic Beverages

January 21, 2005

Purpose of Alcohol Policy:


  • Minimize liability and the chance for alcohol related tragedies.

  • Assure that no alcohol is served to underage people.

  • Make events comfortable for non-drinkers and drinkers.

  • Assure that alcohol is not abused on SKUUF property.




  • The renter for any event on SKUUF property where alcohol will be served must ensure that proper liquor liability insurance coverage is in place. If necessary, this insurance must be purchased in addition to any other existing insurance policies.

  • If alcohol is to be sold or distributed by donation, a temporary one day liquor license must be obtained.


What must be served:


  • Non-alcoholic beverages must also be served and prominently displayed.

  • Food must be served along with alcohol.


How it must be served:


  • The area in which alcohol is being served must be staffed at all times. Alcohol may only be served by an adult supervising the table, no self-serve.

  • The event host must ensure that no alcohol is served to anyone under the age of 21.

  • The amount of alcohol consumed and behavior at the event shall be monitored. If someone becomes intoxicated, they will be asked to leave, but will not be allowed to drive; a taxi or other alternate means of transportation will be provided.

  • No alcohol is to be left behind at the conclusion of the event.


The renter must acknowledge receipt of this policy.


April 15, 2015

When any person's physical and/or emotional well-being or freedom to safely express his or her beliefs or opinions is threatened, the source of this threat must be addressed firmly and promptly, even if this ultimately requires the expulsion of the offending person or persons.


Threats include:


  • Perceived threats to the physical safety of any adult or child

  • Perceived threats of non-violent disruption to church activities or SKUUF reputation


Threats to physical safety:


  • Fire evacuation

    • The minister or governing board will call 911

    • The primary RE teacher will take attendance list and children to the farthest edge of the closest parking lot to the classroom. The teacher will take attendance outside.

    • The secondary RE teacher take any children from the bathroom to the nearest parking lot. Once outside they will find the RE class.

    • All adults will exit the building to the nearest parking lot.

    • All people will make their way to the bottom parking lot. The Minister and RE Director will account for everyone. Children can only be released to their parents or designated guardian with a signature.

    • Explain and/or practice this procedure annually.

  • Violent intruder

    • If a violent disturbance is heard, DO NOT INVESTIGATE.

    • RE teachers lock doors and hide children away from windows.

    • Minister or leader of adult groups lock or brace doors. Governing board members call 911. Adults should stay away from windows and doors.

    • Everyone should be silent.

    • Explain and/or practice this procedure annually.


Threats of non-violent disruption to church activities or SKUUF reputation:

  • The minister or the leader of the group will ask the offending person or persons to leave, OR suspending the meeting or activity until such time that it may be safely resumed.

  • If further assistance is required the Police Department may be called.

  • The Minister must be notified; a follow-up letter detailing the offense and the action taken because of the offense, should be written and distributed to the Minister and the Board President.

  • Situations not requiring immediate response will be referred to the Board. A committee comprised of the DRE, Minister, and a member at large will respond to problems as they arise.

    • There will be no attempt to define "acceptable" behavior in advance.

    • Persons identified as disruptive will be dealt with as individuals. Stereotypes will be avoided.

    • The committee will collect all necessary information.

    • To aid in evaluating the problem, these points will be considered:

      • DANGEROUSNESS - Is the individual the source of a threat or perceived threat to persons or property?

      • DISRUPTIVENESS - How much interference with church functions is going on?

      • OFFENSIVENESS - How likely is it that prospective or existing members will be driven away?

    • To determine the necessary response, these points will be considered:

      • CAUSES - Why is the disruption occurring? Is it a conflict between the individual and others in the church? Is it due to a professionally diagnosed condition of mental illness?

      • HISTORY - What is the extent, if any, of disruption cause in the past?

      • PROBABILITY OF CHANGE - How likely is it that the problem behavior will diminish in the future?

    • The committee will decide on the necessary response on a case by case basis. However, three levels of action/response are recommended:

      • LEVEL ONE - The committee shall inform the Minister of the problem and either the Minister or a member of the committee shall meet with the offending person or persons to communicate the concern.

      • LEVEL TWO - The offending individual(s) is excluded from specific church activities for a limited period of time, with reasons and conditions of return written and made clear (with a copy going to the offender and one going into congregational files)

      • LEVEL ONE or LEVEL TWO action taken may be appealed to the Executive Committee of the Board, and/or the Minister(s).

      • LEVEL THREE - The offending individual is permanently excluded from church premises and all church activities. Before this is carried out, the committee will consult with the Board and the Minister(s). If it is agreed that the expulsion take place, a letter will be written and sent by the Minister to the individual outlining the expulsion, the individual's rights, and any possible recourse.


SKUUF strives to be an inclusive community, affirming our differences in beliefs, opinions and life experiences. However, concern for the safety and well-being of the congregation as a whole must be given priority over the privileges and inclusion of the individual. To the degree the disruptive behavior compromises the health of this congregation, our actions as people of faith must reflect this emphasis on security.

Special Collections
Special Collections

December 2003

Special Collections should be separate from the Sunday offering collection. It is suggested that a donation can be placed in the back of the church. Starr King may donate the non-pledge cash and specific designated check proceeds of one collection basket per month to a chosen charity and the Social Justice Committee will act as administrators of the monies. (See Governing Board minutes, December 2003).


Welcoming Congregation Policy Statement
Welcoming Congregation

May 22, 1999

The Starr King Unitarian Universalist Fellowship became a Welcoming Congregation by a vote of 66 to 0 on May 22, 1999. This means that our Fellowship welcomes lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, and transgender persons into our congregation. It also means that we affirm different sexual orientations and are willing to make this affirmation publicly.


In 1988, the UUA Board of Trustees formed a Common Vision Planning Committee to create a program for congregations interested in becoming more inclusive. No set of guidelines can address the diverse needs of the wide range of Unitarian Universalist congregations, but the following Commitments to inclusion and Actions for achieving those Commitments were adopted by the delegates of the 1989 General Assembly as the outline for the Welcoming Congregation Program. Please remember that these guidelines are not a precise blueprint, but rather a suggestive road map for congregations beginning the journey toward becoming truly welcoming.




  1. A Welcoming Congregation is inclusive and expressive of the concerns of bisexual, gay, lesbian, and/or transgender persons at every level of congregational life - in worship, in program, and in social concerns, welcoming not only their presence but the unique gifts and particularities of their lives as well.

  2. A Welcoming Congregation does not assume anyone's affectional/sexual orientation and/or gender identity. Vocabulary of worship reflects this perception; worship celebrates diversity by inclusivity of language and content.

  3. An understanding of the experience of bisexual, gay, lesbian, and/or transgender persons will be fully incorporated throughout all programs, including religious education.

  4. The bylaws and other official documents of a Welcoming Congregation include an affirmation and non-discrimination clause affecting all dimensions of congregational life, including membership, hiring practices, and the calling of religious professionals.

  5. A Welcoming Congregation engages in outreach into the bisexual, gay, lesbian, and/or transgender communities, both through its advertising and by actively supporting other bisexual, gay, lesbian, and/or transgender affirmative groups.

  6. A Welcoming Congregation offers congregational and ministerial support for services of union and memorial services for bisexual, gay, lesbian, and/or transgender persons, and celebrations of evolving definitions of family.

  7. A Welcoming Congregation celebrates the lives of all people and welcomes same-gender couples, recognizing their committed relationships, and equally affirms displays of caring and affection without regard for sexual orientation.

  8. A Welcoming Congregation seeks to nurture ongoing dialog between people of different affectional/sexual orientations and gender identifications, and to create deeper trust and sharing.

  9. A Welcoming Congregation encourages the presence of a chapter of Interweave (Unitarian Universalists for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender concerns).

  10. A Welcoming Congregation affirms and celebrates bisexual, gay, lesbian, and transgender issues and history during the church year (possibly including Gay Pride Week, which is in June).

  11. A Welcoming Congregation, as an advocate for bisexual, gay, lesbian, and transgender people, attends to legislative developments and works to promote justice, freedom, and equality in the larger society. It speaks out when the rights and dignity of bisexual, and transgender people are at stake.

  12. Welcoming Congregation celebrates the lives of all people and their ways of expressing their love for each other.

Youth & Adult Protection Guidelines
Youth & Adult Protection Guidelines

May 2015



We, the members of the Starr King Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, have a responsibility for and an investment in the protection of our children and adults from abuse imposed on them by others. We are in the unique position to listen to and assist those who may have experienced abuse.


By overcoming the secrecy involved and by providing a forum for the possible problems and concerns, we will create an opportunity for victims to gain the power necessary to pursue their search for help and support. We will also support in their treatment those who are perpetrators of abuse, including facilitating accountability by reporting suspected abuse.




We will strive to ensure the existence of a caring religious community that will be free of all forms of abuse, with special attention to sexual abuse, for our children, youth, and participating adults.


We will establish procedures that will make this Fellowship a safe place and one that supports survivors of abuse.


We will provide support for any person responsible for abuse, whether alleged or convicted. In this context, we understand ‘support’ to mean staying engaged with someone in the search for truth and healing, as well as reporting any suspected abuse to proper authorities.


Scope of Policy:


This policy applies to all committees or groups that are part of the fellowship. It applies, as well, to any groups using our meetinghouse that are not renting space but are, in effect, sponsored by the Fellowship. For example, when District Youth Conferences are held in our meetinghouse, our expectation is that all adult supervisors will have been through a screening process similar to the one described below.




Child Abuse: Pursuant to NH RSA 169-C: 3,II - “an abused child is any child who has been: sexually abused; intentionally physically injured; or psychologically injured so that said child exhibits symptoms of emotional problems generally recognized to result from the consistent mistreatment or neglect; or physically injured by other than accidental means.”


Two Deep Leadership: We intend to avoid creating situations where children and adults may be vulnerable. We will seek to have two leaders who have been through the screening process, one of whom must be at least 21 years of age, always working with our children. When it is not possible to have two leaders, the group will meet in an open area that is visible to other adults, and the adult with the overall responsibility for that function, such as the director of Religious Education, will circulate through that area.




  • Primary Responsibility for This Policy:

    • Overall responsibility for administering this policy lies with the Religious Education Committee. Each year it will appoint a Screening Committee.

    • The minister and the Screening Committee will be knowledgeable about the available resources concerning child abuse and about reporting procedures for children. The committee will be available to all who have concerns about child abuse within the Fellowship. If a situation arises that has implications for the Fellowship, the Screening Committee will inform the Governing Board.

    • It is understood that everyone is a mandated reporter meaning “if you suspect abuse, you must report it.” It will be the responsibility of the RE Committee to educate the volunteers on how to report.

    • If the concern involves either the minister or one of the members of the Screening Committee as an alleged perpetrator, the concern should be brought to the President of the Governing Board.

  • Procedures to prevent abuse from occurring within the fellowship:

    • The DRE and RE Committee will be responsible for organizing and overseeing the screening process each year. This process will include police background checks for anyone working directly with the children and youth. The sex offender registry will also be checked.

    • Each year, a Screening Committee, consisting of one Governing Board member, one RE Committee member, and a third Fellowship member, will be appointed by the Religious Education Committee to handle any concerns arising from the screening process. The final responsibility for ensuring that this process is implemented resides with the Governing Board. The information screened by this committee will be regarded as confidential.

    • All staff must complete the screening process at the time they are called or hired. Volunteers and others from outside the Fellowship who are to be entrusted with the care and supervision of our children or youth must also complete the screening process before they work with children.

    • Staff and others from outside the Fellowship, as well as members and friends who volunteer to care or supervise the children on a regular basis, such as teaching in the RE program, will complete the Primary Screening Form for Children and Youth Work, the Code of Ethics, and the Request for Criminal Records Check.

    • Members and friends who volunteer to care for or supervise the children only occasionally, such as filling in one or two Sundays at the nursery, will complete the Secondary Screening Form for Children and Youth Work and the Code of Ethics.

    • The DRE will review the forms and check the responses from the criminal records check.

    • If, upon reviewing the forms or checking of references, the DRE feels there is a need for an interview, she or he will contact the Screening Committee. That committee will conduct an interview with the applicant.

  • Criteria for determining whether an applicant can be entrusted with the care or supervision of children or youth:

    • Before a new member or friend can be considered as a potential volunteer who may be entrusted with our children, he or she must have participated in the Fellowship with some regularity for a minimum of six months.

    • Adults or youth who have legal charges pending, who appear on the sex offender registry, or who have been convicted of or have pleaded guilty to either sexual abuse or physical abuse, will not work with children or youth.

    • Those instances in which adults or youth have been charged with, but not convicted of, either child sexual or physical abuse will be independently evaluated by the Screening Committee.

    • The DRE will apprize the Governing Board of all who have successfully completed the screening process.

  • Procedures for reporting suspected abuse: The child/person tells their story to the minister, an RE teacher, the Director of Religious Education, another child, a Board Member, friend, or an adult in the congregation. Here’s what to do:

    • Listen carefully.

    • If a child begins to reveal abuse during a RE Program, be honest with the person telling the story. Don’t make promises you can’t keep, but offer support and hope.

    • Volunteers need to avoid interviewing or encouraging children to continue to disclose. Instead, validate the child and tell him or her that you are going to help make sure that he or she is safe. You can mention that he or she will be telling a caring adult about the situation, but you want to make sure the child only has to tell his or her story once.

    • If you are concerned for a child’s immediate safety, contact local law enforcement. F. The entire matter must be kept confidential.

  • Procedures for working with and caring for a person against whom allegations have been made:

    • If an incident occurs within the realm of the Fellowship, we will do all we can to support the victim. However, we cannot disregard the well being of the alleged perpetrator. We may need to set limits on the participation of the alleged perpetrator, such as outlined below, but we will not rush to judgment or ostracize that individual.

    • If a reported incident of child abuse involves either a paid staff person or volunteer, the Governing Board will suspend the person from all activities involving the supervision of children. This is true for an incident that allegedly occurred either within or outside the realm of the Fellowship. Again, because we cannot disregard the wellbeing of the alleged perpetrator, we will not rush to judgment or ostracize that individual.

    • Suspension from activities involving children will continue, pending the outcome of the investigation by the appropriate authorities.

    • Regardless of where or under what circumstances the alleged incident takes place, if a paid staff person is involved and convicted, or legal charges are brought but not acted upon for reasons that leave too many questions unanswered, it may be considered as job related and affecting job performance.

    • Reinstatement of a paid staff member or volunteer will occur only after all allegations have been cleared to the satisfaction of the Governing Board.

  • Procedures for working with and caring for a person who has been convicted of abusing a child:

    • Because we “affirm the inherent worth and dignity of every person,” we do not believe any person should “automatically” be excluded from our Fellowship because of his/her past actions. However, we also believe we have a responsibility to ensure the well being of all our participants, especially the most vulnerable. To date, it is our understanding that the ability of pedophiles to change their behavior is problematic. If someone who has been convicted of sexually abusing a child, regardless of where it occurred, wishes to participate in this Fellowship, we will welcome him or her, but their participation may be limited in ways – to which all parties agree – to ensure the safety of our children.

  • Responding to the media:

    • If you are contacted by the media, you need only to say that our church has adopted Youth and Adult Protection Guidelines, and that we are following those guidelines at this time. If more information is requested, suggest contacting the minister or President of the Governing Board. To speak about the specifics could significantly alter the ability to prosecute.

  • Procedures for transporting youth to Fellowship events:

    • Drivers should be at least 21 years old and hold a valid driver’s license.

    • Every person transported in the vehicle must wear a seatbelt.

    • Regardless of where or under what circumstances the alleged incident takes place, if a paid staff person is involved and convicted, or legal charges are brought but not acted upon for reasons that leave too many questions unanswered, it may be considered as job related and affecting job performance.

    • There should be two unrelated adults in each car for every trip.

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