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General Convention Committees Consider Church Security Training Resolutions – Episcopal News Service

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[Episcopal News Service] In an online hearing on April 30, the Bishops’ and Deputies’ Legislative Committees on Sexual Harassment, Sexual Exploitation and Protection heard testimony on two resolutions on the need to educate more people about Safe training Church and make it accessible to non-English speakers. speakers.

Resolution A064 would allocate $15,000 to the Episcopal Church’s Office of Communication and Training to promote the new online Sure Church training modules that many in the Church are required to complete. The new training sessions are in line with the model policies updated in 2018 for the protection of children and young people and for the protection of vulnerable adults.

The 80th General Convention is scheduled to take place July 7-14 in Baltimore, Maryland. For the first time, legislative committees met before convention to do some of their work. To view the hearing schedule, click here.

Eric Travis, a member of the task force to develop model policies on sexual harassment and church safety training – the body that came up with A064 – said the group had worked hard to create new materials for training that closely followed the model policies, and that more people needed to know more. this. “In the work we have done over the past three years, we have discovered that many dioceses were not even aware that there was a new policy model available to them, and what it meant for them. in their diocese, in their churches,” he said.

Paul Ambos, Deputy and Chancellor of the Diocese of New Jersey, also supported the resolution, saying he had recently learned that the senior superintendent of a large parish in his diocese had never heard of Safe Church training, “ which I found shocking.”

Another resolution, A065, calls for translating new Safe Church training materials into Spanish, French, and Haitian Creole so members of The Episcopal Church for whom those are primary languages ​​can participate in the training. It would provide $300,000 for this, as well as $50,000 for an ongoing working group to create and implement these documents.

Travis also testified in support of the resolution, noting that it takes more than Google Translate to create training in new languages. “There is a need for contextual and appropriate translations of materials, especially when dealing with safe church issues,” he said.

The committee noted that Spanish, along with French and Haitian Creole, are named in the resolution because they affect the largest groups of non-native English speakers in the Episcopal Church. The Diocese of Haiti, whose members, according to the committee, can read French but speak The Hispanic community is the fastest growing community in the Episcopal Church at this time. »

Beyond the committees’ deliberation on languages ​​other than English, Reverend Valerie Webster of the Diocese of Montana asked if the training materials could be used by the hearing impaired and those who are blind or visually impaired. The Reverend Shannon Kelly, manager of young adult and campus ministries for the Episcopal Church, who participated as an expert witness, noted that audio materials are always accompanied by text and that all videos are captioned and that the developers are working on ways to make the material available to people who are blind.

New Hampshire Bishop Ron Hirschfeld wondered if named languages ​​were enough. “What about Korean, Japanese and other Asian languages?” He asked. Kelly said being able to translate documents comes down to two things, regardless of the languages ​​involved. The first is “the staff capacity we have,” Kelly said, noting that a volunteer task force was working on it, aided by a relatively new part-time staff member. “But the translation budget is the biggest hurdle,” she said, “because it costs money to have human beings who are good at this translation do this job.”

For Central Pennsylvania Bishop Audrey Scanlan, having proper translations is a matter of justice for the church. “It’s a real problem for us to continue to identify as an English-speaking white church,” she said. “It should be obvious that the documents are always translated into all the languages ​​in which the Episcopal Church is represented.”

The committee will hold hearings on three more resolutions later this month, two on gender equity issues and one on a model anti-harassment policy.

–Melodie Woerman is a freelance writer and former director of communications for the Diocese of Kansas.