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Safe Sanctuaries

Beginning January 1, 2020, the Safe Sanctuaries certification process moved to Safe Gatherings.

To learn more about the transition, including Frequently Asked Questions, click on our transition communication.

The Missouri Conference of the United Methodist Church is committed to providing safe places of worship and fellowship to everyone they serve. As part of that commitment, the Conference is offering Safe Gatherings as a resource for you in this important area.

Safe Gatherings is an online abuse prevention program that screens and educates staff and volunteers to help prevent abuse of children, youth and vulnerable adults. When employees and volunteers are trained about best practices when working with vulnerable populations, know the behaviors of potential abusers, recognize the signs of abuse and know how to handle reporting, they are better equipped to prevent abuse.

Upon successful completion of the Safe Gatherings application, background and reference checks, and online training program, each applicant will receive documentation of approval valid for three years, and will have continued access to the online training program for one year.

The Missouri Conference is committed to this program and is supplementing half the cost of the program through December 2023 (Regular price: $45). The price per applicant for the individual church program available through the Conference is $22.50. This includes:

  • Processing of two electronic references
  • National criminal background check
  • 7-year multi-county of residence background check
  • National and state of residence Sex Offender Registry check
  • Applicant tracking for church administrators
  • 1.5-hour online abuse prevention and boundary awareness training 

Note: For those driving in your ministry, a motor vehicle record check is available for an additional fee.

Pre-2020 Safe Sanctuaries Information

After January 1, 2020, new applicants should pursue certification through Safe Gatherings (see above).

Missouri United Methodists affirm that all children, youth and vulnerable adults have the right to safe sanctuary. Therefore, Missouri United Methodists are determined to provide an environment in which these persons are safe from neglect or abuse. The provision of safe sanctuary applies to all staff and volunteers, clergy or lay, who have direct or indirect contact with children or youth in Conference- and/or district-sponsored events. The Safe Sanctuaries Certification Authority along with the Missouri Conference Mission Council is responsible for the Safe Sanctuaries policy and procedures. Each Conference and/or district ministry involving children, youth, or vulnerable adults follows these policy and procedures.

The Safe Sanctuaries program is a process developed to train and certify persons as safe workers with children and youth in Missouri Conference ministries. The policies were adopted in 1999, in response to God's call to welcome all children and to protect them from the devastating effects of child abuse.

Click here to view current Safe Sanctuaries policies.

Online Training

After January 1, 2020, new applicants should pursue certification through Safe Gatherings (see above). To start online training, contact your Safe Gatherings Administrator (SGA). The course is only available online. Pastors who need to complete the training can contact the Conference Safe Sanctuaries Office or visit to start your application.

Check Conference Certification Status

To check a Safe Sanctuaries certification status for certificates expiring before December 31, 2023, click here. To check a Safe Gatherings certification status, contact your local church Safe Gathering Administrator.

Contact information

Questions? Contact Safe Sanctuaries Administrator Tina Twenter at or (573) 777-1218.