At Baptism, parents and sponsors promise to help baptized children live in the covenant of Baptism and in communion with the Church. Parents and sponsors promise faithfully to bring children to the services of God’s house, to teach them the Lord’s Prayer, the Creed, and the Ten Commandments, to place in their hands the Holy Scriptures and to provide for their instruction in the Christian faith. The purpose of this congregation’s ministry with children and youth is to support parents in fulfilling these responsibilities and to invite into participation those children and youth who have not yet been baptized. This congregation assembles weekly around Word and Sacrament. This community of faith provides opportunities for children and youth to learn about Christian faith, to develop an identity as part of the Christian community, and to serve others, following the example of our Lord Jesus.
This congregation’s ministry with children and youth begins by striving to provide a safe environment and to provide caring and effective leaders. In an effort to promote this safe environment, the congregation binds itself to a Child Protection Policy.
“i. Any recent act or failure to act by a perpetrator which causes nonaccidental serious physical injury to a child under 18 years of age;
ii. An act or failure to act by a perpetrator which causes nonaccidental serious mental injury to or sexual abuse or sexual exploitation of a child under 18 years of age;
iii. Any recent act, failure to act or series of such acts or failures to act by a perpetrator which creates an imminent risk of serious physical injury to or sexual abuse or sexual exploitation of a child under 18 years of age;
iv. Serious physical neglect by a perpetrator constituting prolonged or repeated lack of supervision or the failure to provide essentials of life, including adequate medical care, which endangers a child’s life or development or impairs the child’s functioning.”
According to the Pennsylvania Child Protective Services Law (CPSL), the definition of child sexual abuse or exploitation is:
“The employment, use, permission, inducement, enticement or coercion of any child to engage in any sexually explicit conduct or any simulation of any sexually explicit conduct for the purpose of producing any visual depiction, including photographing, videotaping, computer, depicting or filming, of any sexually explicit conduct or the rape, sexual assault, involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, aggravated indecent assault, molestation, incest, indecent exposure, prostitution, statutory sexual assault, or other form of sexual exploitation of children.”
“Sexual abuse” refers to any interaction between a child and an adult when the child is being used for the sexual stimulation of the adult or of a third person. The behavior may or may not involve touching.
Sexual abuse and harassment can include the following:
· Verbal sexual suggestions, innuendoes, or jokes
· Leering or ogling
· Intrusive touching, including pats, squeezes, hugs, pinches, kissing, brushing against someone’s body
· The use of pornography
· Sexual assault or attempted sexual assault
Copies of the entire Child Protection Policy of St. Michael Lutheran Church can be made available upon request from the church office.