The focus of the Bishop’s Task Force for a Safe Church (BTFSC) is that the Church be a safe and holy place for all whom our ministry affects.

“As a faith community, the Anglican Diocese of Niagara is committed to fostering an atmosphere in which our members, volunteers, staff and those who use our buildings can work, worship and play together in an atmosphere that is free from all forms of harassment, misconduct, interpersonal violence, exploitation or intimidation,” said Chair Marni Nancekivell

BTFSC aims to share a body of knowledge that embodies best practice resources within Niagara Diocese.

A significant part of this work is educating and mentoring lay people and clergy through workshops, some mandatory (basic diocesan policy orientation) and others tailored to regional or parish needs. It is designed for Church School and Youth workers and volunteers, those who work with fragile adults or those working to maintain healthy boundaries.

BTFSC also conducts inquiries in situations where some kind of misconduct is alleged to have taken place.

This past year, over 120 clergy and lay people have participated in the task force’s basic education programs as BTFSC continues to be proactive in creating a safe church environment. The basic program now includes bullying and social media.

The task force also consults with congregations about the planning and revitalization of physical plants, and works at creating a safe environment in which both individuals and the community can function.

In the coming year BTFSC will engage in Niagara’s triennial reporting process for Volunteer Management and Screening. It is essential that every parish complete this report by May 1, 2018 to maintain diocesan and insurance standards.

The Reverend Canon Marni Nancekivell is Chair, Bishop’s Task Force for a Safe Church (BTFSC).