In 2003, the Diocese began implementing a new volunteer and staff screening process in all parishes. Our parish is now ready to proceed with this program called "Screening In Faith" which is to protect those most vulnerable among us from predatory risks that are unfortunately quite prevalent in today's society. The program is primarily intended to protect young children, the elderly, and other vulnerable people.
Quite simply, everyone involved in various parish ministries that have contact with these vulnerable groups will be required to go through the screening process to reassure us all that these threats do not exist in our midst. As part of due diligence everyone involved in groups like Sunday School teachers; Pastoral Care visitors; Lay anointers; staff; parish council, and other groups will be screened over the next few months and beyond as part of permanent ongoing process will be in place.
St. Margaret's has formed a screening committee made up of Diane L., Linda G., and David P. to implement this program.
We feel that this program will be beneficial in providing peace of mind that our loved ones are entirely safe while participating in St Margaret's activities. As part of the screening process, we will be matching the skills of people to particular jobs, establishing job descriptions for all positions and review present positions within the church. This will involve interviewing people now in these positions which will enable us to re-evaluate positions. We also feel this process will help with identifying "volunteer burnout" and will help us to develop volunteer positions with defined beginnings and endings.
The two main components of the process as set by the Diocese will be volunteer interviews and a police record check. The interviews will be conducted with the appropriate program leader or supervisor along with possibly a screening committee person. The police check is readily available from Barrie police at their station. A fee of $20.00 - $35.00 is payable to the police force. Anyone involved directly with children or home pastoral visits will need to have the fuller police check. Usually the report, which takes approximately two weeks, will be forwarded to the applicant who then forwards it directly to the diocese. It will remain strictly confidential at the diocese and not seen or disclosed to anyone locally. St. Margaret's does not need to review them, only the Diocese. After the Diocesan review, a letter is sent to the incumbent and screening committee coordinator simply stating there is "no problem" or will state that there is a problem. Please note that the Diocese does not share what the report says.
If someone cannot afford the record check then financial help may be available from the church. Interview records will be stored in a secure locked filing drawer and in a locked office and are strictly confidential. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact the Incumbent, the wardens or anyone on the screening committee.
Screening PrayerGod of abundance and God of life, infuse your children with courage and love, that we may build communities of hope, which are healthy, thriving and safe. Help us to be responsible with our ministry so that both the weak and the strong find their home in our churches, through the profound love of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. Amen.