A Letter from Bishop Sean
On September 24, 2015, Bishop Sean wrote to the clergy and lay leaders of the diocese about safe church trainings and certifications:
Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,
I write on a matter that will not be new to any of you, but about which I feel some urgency. We have a duty as Christian ministers to do everything in our power to ensure the safety and wellbeing of the children in our congregations. To that end, every person in the Diocese of Bethlehem who works with children must receive the necessary training and certifications specified in the policies of the diocese, the canons of the church and the laws of the state. If, by some misguided chance, you regard this requirement as a box to be checked, or a bureaucratic infringement on your ministry, let me assure you that I do not.
PA Child Protective Services Law – Act 31
Effective July 1, 2015, Pennsylvania law will have new requirements for the clearances necessary for employees and volunteers who work with or come into contact with children. The new law also requires that employees and volunteers are considered mandated reporters of suspected child abuse.
The diocese is asking that current clergy and employees come into compliance by December 31, 2015. Clearances need to be renewed every 60 months. Congregations are required to see original documentation and maintain records of their volunteers’ and lay employees’ compliance with these guidelines.
All original records for clergy will be kept at the Diocesan office. Records for parishioners and lay employees should be kept securely at each parish.
Please contact the diocesan office with any questions regarding compliance.
Safeguarding God’s Children
Diocesan Policies and Implementation
In the Diocese of Bethlehem we are committed to establishing and maintaining safe environments for children in our congregations and church buildings. All parishes are required to adhere to the Diocesan Policies for the Protection of Children and Youth from Abuse adopted by Diocesan Council, which are available for download.
Diocesan Policies (updated January 2009)
We offer training in Safeguarding God’s Children through programs developed by the Church Pension Group.
Safeguarding Training is done online.
Once individuals have been entered into the system, they can begin the training through this website: safeguardingonline.