Safe Church Policies

It is no accident that the worship space in a church is called a sanctuary: it can be a place of refuge, of hope, and of safety. Fostering healthy relationships and creating a space free from abuse is part living into God’s promise. The Iowa, Nebraska, and South Dakota Conferences of the United Church of Christ (UCC) are committed to creating and maintaining programs, facilities, and communities in which members, friends, staff, and volunteers can worship, learn, and work together in an atmosphere free from all forms of discrimination, harassment, exploitation, or intimidation. These materials will provide some guidance about developing policies and procedures for the protection of children, youth, and adults participating in church-sponsored activities.

Background Checks

Background checks are used as a part of creating safe, hospitable, and just environments in our congregations and ministry settings.

Praesidium Background Checks: The Conferences provide background checks that can be used in a variety of ways for people connected to church life: congregations running background checks for their volunteers, pastors wanting to be on the pulpit supply list, and people discerning a call to authorized UCC ministry.

Oxford Background Checks: The Conferences have a link for those in the ordination process, those ordained UCC needing to renew the Oxford report, and non-UCC pastors interested in search and call in the Iowa, Nebraska, and South Dakota Conferences of the UCC. Once on the website, click the text under the first box titled “Applicants”. Then use the following log-in information depending on which conference you’re applying to: IA Client #: 1107, NE Client #: 3236, SD Client #: 2824. Position Code for IA, NE, and SD: 1.

Questions? Contact Diane Conroy in the Des Moines Office at

Praesidium Background Checks

For individuals doing pulpit supply and local church staff and volunteers

Oxford Background Checks

For non-UCC pastors interested in search and call in the Iowa, Nebraska, and South Dakota Conferences of the UCC

Other Safe Church Resources

Risk Management Services

Insurance Board’s Risk Management (IBRM) service is intended to help protect your church and congregation. Some services related to Safe Church Policies include abuse prevention policies and procedures to protect those at risk, sexual abuse prevention training, webinars, and workshops.

National UCC resources

The national setting provides many safe church resources for congregations including recommendations and best practices for sex offenders in your congregation, sample local church abuse prevention policies/disclosure forms, and instructions for reporting clergy ethics violations.

Safeconduct Workbench

A program run by the Insurance Board to cultivate responsible leadership and prevent sexual abuse and bullying. Resources include courses and training sessions, self-assessment strategies, an abuse prevention policy template, and more. Services are available to all UCC churches, related entities, and camps.