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Safe Congregation Handbook
Becoming a Safer Congregation
Safe Congregations, Conflict Management in Congregations

A UU Guide to Effective Safety Policies and Practices

Our congregations strive to be safe and welcoming places to all. It is impossible to make a congregation 100% safe; however, there are steps that you can take to make your congregation safer while still creating a supportive space for learning, growth, and challenge as well as actively working for the inclusion and safety of all people.

This section contains resources for congregations to prevent and address issues pertaining to the safety of our people (staff, volunteers, leaders, congregants, guests, children, youth, vulnerable adults, etc), places (congregational buildings, grounds, campus, etc), and things (finances, data, property, etc).

The hardest part of beginning or refocusing on safe congregations work can be getting over the idea that everything must be done at once. There is not one “right” place to start, and every congregation will make its own decision about where to focus their attention given their particular concerns, history, and legal requirements (which vary from state to state). The sample policies, checklists, and suggestions contained here will help you take steps towards creating a safer congregation that lives our faith and values.

The second hardest part is thinking your congregation is "done."  Keeping up to date on your safer congregation policies and procedures means that your policies and procedures need to be reviewed and scheduled for updating on a regular basis.  One of our checklists addresses this particular issue.

Table of Contents

  1. Getting Started

  2. Safety as an Embodiment of Covenant: Disruptive Behavior

  3. Building Security in Congregations

  4. Active Shooter and Lockdown Situations

  5. Financial Safety

  6. Religious Education and Children

  7. Safety in Youth Ministry

  8. Sexually Safer Congregations

  9. Social Media and Safer Communications

Becoming a Safer Congregation: a Guide to Effective Safety Policies and Practices was created in 2018. 

About the Authors

  • Kim Sweeney is a Unitarian Universalist Credentialed Religious Educator and consultant.
  • The regional Congregational Life staff are congregations' local connection to the UUA. All of the program Congregational Life staff have expertise in most aspects of congregational life and each also has a few program areas of expertise. See the UUA Congregational Life Staff...

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For more information contact safecongregations@uua.org.