MinistrySafe Implementation for Pastors

9/22/2020

Note: The below message was sent out in March to a list of recipients compiled prior to clergy moving day 2020. Due to some technical challenges, we have reason to believe that this communique did not reach all intended recipients. We apologize for any confusion but if you have moved since March 2020, when you log into your church’s MinistrySafe account, you will need to change the name, email address and phone number. If you have any questions about this contact Rev. Vickie White at vwhite@mississippi-umc.org, or Jackie McGough at jmcgough@mississippi-umc.org.


Greetings senior pastors,
 
We are excited to share with you a new no-cost online training capability to enhance the Safe Sanctuary program components at your church. This online training will be provided by MinistrySafe which is also our new service provider of choice for background checks. You have five different options for background checks depending upon what is important to your church. To view a detailed description of the different options and costs click here

It is important to understand, that this new training is a requirement of the Mississippi Conference’s insurance coverage through Philadelphia Insurance Company. Each church and ministry must have a consistent and comprehensive abuse prevention safety system, and this new online Sexual Abuse Awareness Training fulfills that training requirement for all staff and volunteers who work with children or vulnerable populations. In addition to this training, there are other online resources available to your congregation like sample policy forms, screening forms, helpful articles and more.

This change in providers will result in several value-added features for your church from MinistrySafe:

  • First, your church will be able to monitor the training and background check status of all staff and volunteers on one simple online dashboard. Your church can also choose to initiate and complete background checks at the local church level without having to send the forms and payment to the conference office for processing and verification. While the connectional ministries office will continue to process payments and background requests for churches who need this support, this self-service option will be very appealing to most of our medium and large-size churches. By simply adding your own payment method (credit card) to your church account, you can initiate and complete checks yourself without having to submit forms and payment by mail to the conference office. If you would like to discuss whether this self-service option might be good for your church, contact Rev. Vickie White at vwhite@mississippi-umc.org.
  • With this new process, you can now complete background checks for employees and job applicants. Whenever you request a background check, you will designate whether that check is for a volunteer or for an employee / job applicant. While the background check options are the same, there is a different consent form for each of these two categories. To view the volunteer consent form click here. To view the employee / job applicant consent form click here.
  • If your church decides to process your own background checks, you simply need to enter the person's name and email into the online dashboard and the consent form is completed electronically by the person. If you prefer that the conference process the background check, you will continue to mail your payment along with the appropriate consent forms to the conference office following our normal process outlined here.

The price of the new background checks range from $10-$52 per person depending upon what level check you desire and whether you need a motor vehicle record check. While some of these background checks are more expensive, the increased cost options are to provide you with the option of more robust searches where an individual actually goes to the county courthouse or federal court of record to check for any criminal convictions or records. These options are available to you since the vast majority of Mississippi counties do not have automated records that are searchable online in the level one search.
 
As the senior pastor, you will serve as your church's SSA (safety system administrator) until such time that you or your staff parish relations committee (SPRC) designates another person to perform that role for your church. The SSA will be responsible for ensuring that everyone completes the online training and maintains a current background check in accordance with your church and Safe Sanctuary policy. If your church would like to designate another person to fulfill these SSA duties after reviewing the video and the information below, you can submit that change online by clicking here
 
All SSAs must first watch a six-minute overview of the MinistrySafe system by clicking here. To review a presentation of the MinistrySafe system which addresses many frequently asked questions click here. To view the MinistrySafe online help section with detailed instructions click here.
 
To sign into your church's online dashboard click here. Your username and your password will both be your six-digit GCFA number followed by "umc."  For example, a GCFA number of 123456 would use 123456umc as both the username and the password. Once you sign into the system, you (or your church's new SSA) should immediately update your password at a minimum. You can change your username, but it is important to note that each church account must have a unique username. So, if you are serving a multi-point charge, you would not be able to use the same email address as the username for multiple churches.
  
Thank you for your help in sharing this important information with the appropriate people at your church.


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