Limited Access Agreements for Congregational Participation

A comprehensive congregational safety plan should include policies of what to do when someone associated with the congregation, or someone who wishes to participate in the congregation's activities, has been accused or convicted of a violent and/or sexual offense.

When a person who has been convicted of such an offense has sought treatment and is engaging in rehabilitation, it can be appropriate for them to be involved in congregational life in a limited and well-bounded way. For example, several congregations have established strong boundaries and policies called Limited Access Agreements with people who are on a sex offender registry. Such agreements spell out how the past offender may attend the occasional worship service while staying far away from any situation of risk.

A Limited Access Agreement is appropriate only when the person who needs the strong boundaries is in right relationship with the congregation and is willing to follow guidelines. If the person is not willing to follow guidelines or willing (and able) to be in right relationship, a Limited Access Agreement is not the appropriate tool.

Your regional safe congregations team member can provide support to your congregation's leaders in creating a Limited Access Agreement as well as defining the needed boundaries and agreements in difficult behavioral situations.