I’m behind on Saints and Blesseds as I suddenly and unexpectedly had BeFrienders Ministry training. It was purely unintentional and was an exhausting couple of days; I had a busy schedule last weekend anyway, so no time to post or to do many other necessary things. There was a lot of material and it required responding to difficult issues so was rather emotional at times. In some ways I’m uncertain whether I’m qualified for this, but I know I was supposed to go through the training. I had forgotten all about it; the information session I attended was about 6 weeks ago and there wasn’t much of a warning before the training.
Another requirement of the Church is Virtus training; it’s required for all who come in contact with children, whether clergy, employees or volunteers.
The great thing about this training is that it raises awareness and people are more likely to report inappropriate behavior. We were also provided with a list of contact numbers for the county child protection departments, though in some circumstances it may be appropriate to call 911. The bottom line? If someone is behaving inappropriately with children, the authorities need to investigate. No matter who’s going to be embarrassed.
There will also be a background check, which, in my case, will be easy; I’ve had them before, for various reasons, most recently a couple of years ago. Interestingly the trainer referenced a case in which an organization collected information for background checks but chose not to follow through with them.
While many perpetrators go years without being caught, it’s irresponsible not even to see what comes up in a background check; maybe the person doesn’t have a record of violence against children, but there could be other violent acts or indications of substance abuse.
Because it involves bringing Communion to people in various situations, someone will make a judgment call on whether I’m an appropriate person to carry the Body of Christ with me. I’m uncertain about it.
Other than that? It’s a discernment process, both on my part and that of the person in charge of this ministry.