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By Cat Holbert, Executive Director of Camp & Retreat Ministries

Safe Gatherings began in 2012 as a project to assist the Kansas East UMC Conference (now part of the Great Plains UMC Conference).

Fueled by a passion for protecting vulnerable populations, Safe Gatherings created an online tool to provide training to churches, organizations, and the adults and volunteers who are leaders within. The focus has always been abuse prevention through a system of checks and balances.

Here in the Desert Southwest Conference, Safe Gatherings is used by the Conference, Camp & Retreat Ministries, and many of our churches to meet our Safe Sanctuary guidelines and expectations.

This year, several of the Desert Southwest Conference’s churches are recognized by Safe Gatherings for the highest level of commitment to providing safe places for worship and fellowship for all vulnerable groups they serve. Those churches are:

  • Calvary United Methodist Church—Phoenix, AZ
  • Cross Roads United Methodist Church—Phoenix, AZ
  • Pahrump Valley United Methodist Church—Pahrump, NV
  • Santa Cruz Valley United Methodist Church—Sahuarita, AZ
  • Scottsdale United Methodist Church—Scottsdale, AZ
  • Spirit Song United Methodist Church—Peoria, AZ

Let’s all celebrate with these churches and follow their lead as we strive to offer safe places where all are seen, heard, and valued! To find out more about the Desert Southwest Conference’s commitment to offering safe places of community, check out our info on Safe Sanctuary policies at https://dscumc.org/safe-sanctuaries/ where you’ll also find a quick link to Safe Gatherings.

For questions on Safe Gatherings and how it works/what to expect, feel free to contact Cat Holbert, Executive Director of Camp & Retreat Ministries at .

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